The Spot: SprATX Keeps Austin Graffiti Scene Stoked
“We’re playing off the idea that everything is bigger in Texas,” says Mouf, graffiti artist and co-founder of Austin, Texas’ SprATX is discussing upcoming plans for a video series documenting large-scale mural painting in the Lone Star state, but he might as well be talking SprATX itself.
A sprawling enterprise, SprATX is a retail operation, a gallery and an artist management firm, an art collective, event producer and promotional company. Like the state from which it was birthed, SprATX, covers a lot of ground, which is exactly why they’ll be joining Dew’s first-ever DIY Fest in Houston on April 18.
“We’re always evolving, just finding more opportunities,” says co-founder Molly Maroney. “[We are] making it economically feasible for artists to become full time artists, to get the right eyes on their work, to create great art. It’s art for art’s sake, commercial art, performance art, and some things in between.”
With an artist roster 30 members deep, and a list of clients that runs the gamut from cool kids to corporate clients, SprATX has been able to connect disparate corners of the Austin community to create that most rare of environments: one where graffitti and street art are actually welcome.
“What we do here wouldn’t necessarily work in any other city,” Mouf tells Green Label. “Artists that have travelled here from other cities have flat out said that in their city it is a cutthroat art form.
“They would rather stay lonewolf artists than band together because a lot of them are in competition with each other—it’s that kind of mentality. But here it’s more about bringing everybody together to create a bigger feel.”
A big part of what SprATX has done is bring street art—a typically clandestine, covert pursuit—into the light, making street artists and the street art a part of the larger community. This visibility helps dispel many of the stigmas that are attached to graffiti and street art in many, less open cities.
“We do a lot of events. That’s been a big one for us, where we’re coming out and setting up walls and doing live art performances during the event,” Maroney explains. “We do all sorts of different projects. If you’ve got a project we’ve got a way we can make it happen.”
“Every day is about learning something new, whether it is business tactics or what angers people or what works. Whether we’re doing a t-shirt and figuring out what color people gravitate to or…ways to keep artist integrity while accomplishing a client’s marketing objectives.”
The balancing act that SprATX performs, the way they walk the tightrope between underground aesthetics and overground concerns, is a thing of beauty. SprATX organization in a state of constant motion, taking its artists and their art forms into new and wonderful directions with each move.