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Artist Interview: Aylo Nomad

Hayley Garner (Aylo Nomad) image credit: Nika Kramer

Autumn is here, time to embrace the darker nights and welcome a different colour palette. This month our Artist Interview welcomes artist Hayley Garner who also works as AYLO_NOMAD, one half of the award winning and internationally renowned street art duo Nomad Clan.

'Atmosphere' NOMAD CLAN (2021)

'Atmosphere' NOMAD CLAN (2021)

Q: Can you tell us about your Artistic background/education?

For as long as I can remember I loved drawing and art class was a strong favourite during my high school years. Although I never really considered it an option as a career back then. I didn't study art any further than high school, so I can't say I have an academic background in art. I did complete a Product engineering degree which I guess is still on the creative vibe. I love to problem solve and there's a lot of that in both creating art and product design. I learnt most of my artistic skills from trial and error. Mainly error and a stubbornness to keep going until I managed to make something that looked half decent. From friends I painted alongside on the streets and from research.

Q. How has your creative journey evolved over the last 10 years? 

The last 10 years have been a complete whirlwind. 

10 years ago I had a small shop in Manchester city center which sold spray paint and various other art supplies. This is where a lot of the mural commissions came from initially, Just little jobs like shop shutters and bars owners wanting feature walls etc. These commissions got bigger and bigger and before I knew it I needed an extra pair of hands. I managed to bag a commission to paint a huge wall in Manchester’s Gay village. This is when I gave Cbloxx a call and we painted our first giant mural together. Nomad Clan was born and my love and obsession with painting big walls began. The art world is a crazy one and coming from the street art angle there is no manual or checklist to tick, you are basically on your own making mistakes learning and hustling.In the beginning when Nomad Clan was just finding its feet we were constantly trying to kick open doors that seemed closed, so we knew we needed to prove ourselves more than most, that we could do it.We were focusing on murals and knew we needed some big walls under our belt so we hustled hard. We managed to convince a property developer to let us paint a mural on the side of their new 7 story building in Liverpool. We were broke artists so couldn't afford to get a hotel. We spent two weeks sleeping rough in the building on a shitty blow up mattress to get the job done. I look back and laugh now but it was horrendous at the time. It was the middle of November and freezing cold. But we got the job done and had a large mural under our belts and a good story to tell.Nowadays my artist practice is less of the hustling. I split my time between projects with Nomad Clan, collaborations with other artists and my own studio work. 

Hayley Garner

Hayley Garner, 2022

Q. Who are your Art Influencers? Inspirations?

I have so many. But the most influential I’d say are the likes of Etam Crew, Aryz, Faith 47, Mad C, Herakut, The London Police…. basically any other muralists/street artists who have been doing this for decades. I would see the walls they were painting and just wish I could be doing the same. It was so inspirational to have people like these guys paving the way. When they were doing it, it wasn't everywhere like it is today; they were truly pioneers of the muralist scene.

Q. What inspires your work?

 My studio work at the moment is very much about people and how different yet similar we all are. How we all live these lives on this spinning rock flying through space yet we all have a different reality and concept to what we are living and experiencing.The studio is where I get to play and experiment with different mediums, styles, ideas. It's just a bunch of playing around and tuning into that inner child.My mural work is where I get to geek out on local historical moments and stories. When painting with Nomad Clan we like to have our work resonate with the place we leave it. We like people to connect and relate, so quite often the murals are more focused than my studio work.

 'Return To Sea' Shine Festival, NOMAD CLAN (2018)

'Return to Sea' Shine Festival, NOMAD CLAN (2018)

Q. Do you keep a sketchbook? How often do you use it and do you travel with it?

I have so many sketchbooks but most of them end up being full of notes and loose scribbles rather than pretty little sketches. I wish I had the discipline to keep a tidy sketchbook and only fill it with drawings and pretty things. Most of my notes I can't even read…

Q. Where does a piece of work begin for you? Can you describe your process? 

My studio work tends to just come to me. I’ll see something or have a conversation which will spark a vision in my head of what I want a piece to look like - its colours, its message, its content. I then sometimes block out in my  “sketch” book the basic composition and write a bunch of notes about it and then I'll photoshop some loose reference together and start laying out the design in my chosen medium.

With the murals it's pretty much the same. Most of my mural work is done with Cbloxx, the other half of Nomad Clan. We will research an area and find a little nugget of history or folklore that we like. We then bounce ideas about until something sticks. We will sketch then photoshop and finally start painting the mural. Lately though I've been sculpting portraits in clay then we've been staging the sculpture and creating a scene which we then photograph and use as reference for our murals.

Athena Rising_Leeds 2017

'Athena Rising' NOMAD CLAN (2017)

Q. What are your most important artists' tools?

When painting murals it's a spirit level and banana caps.

In the studio it's polish finish clay and a good set of brushes.

Q. What are your favourite materials/techniques?

Over lockdown I started experimenting in sculpture and found clay to be so satisfying as a material. Obviously spray paint, as that is probably where most of my skills lie.

Port Street - NOMAD CLAN

Port Street Design, NOMAD CLAN 

Q. What project are you currently working on?

At the moment I have a good couple of projects I'm working on.Nomad has a good few huge mural projects coming up in Sweden, Rotterdam and the UK. 

I'm also working on a collaboration with Seca One, a street artist from Blackpool which is over in Kirkham and part of the town's regeneration programme. Then in October I'm heading to the U.S.A to work on a few murals and workshops and hopefully find some time to make a mess in the studio in between.

Q. What is the best advice you were given early in your creative career? 

Trust and believe in the process. Don't give up at the first hurdle or failure. 10% of talent is born the rest is learnt.

Oh, and never get comfortable!!!

'Relics_Regrowth' NOMAD CLAN (2021)

'Relics_Regrowth' NOMAD CLAN (2021)

Q. Where can we see more of your work online or in person?

You can find my work at www.aylonomad.com 

@Aylo_Nomadon insta, facebook and twitter.

You can find Nomad Clans work @nomad.clan on insta and www.nomadclan.co.uk

Catherine Peters
Catherine Peters

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