Roo will be heading to the Corner Collective for her first solo show called ‘An Exhibition with Roo’s Crew’ and there has been a huge buzz about it in the Southsea community. Painting in Portsmouth back in September, as part of Look Up Portsmouth, meant that locals got to taste Roo’s style when she painted the side of the building at the Corner Collective.
Roo has also painted in the city on many occasions and over the last year you may have seen the fabulous rat mural at the back of Debenhams, just off Palmerston Road.
With her slogan of ‘Roo has a crew. It consists of mostly animals, which vary in colour and personality. Some are friendly and others will eat you’ means you get a sense that her work always consists of fun characters.
I chatted to the London-based artist about the show. She said, “I’ve always loved art and drawing – I’m dedicating the upcoming exhibition at The Corner Collective gallery to my Uncle Tim who passed away in October of this year.”
I asked Roo a few questions in the build-up to the show happening on Thursday the 7th of December at 6pm. The first 40 people will get a goodie bag!
Hi Roo, what is the history of you getting in to Street Art?
My uncle Tim was a cheerleader for my art and was an Artist himself (he had a career in signwriting) – he bought me my first set of paints, which I still have!
I found out at his funeral that his son (and my cousin) Dom is the reason I learnt about graffiti when I was young, as he inspired my brother who in turn showed me.
My brother was a big inspiration for me to get into graffiti (and then street art) when I was a teenager and I used to draw graffiti letters to begin with on paper, before getting into painting.
I wish I still had it – unfortunately, I don’t, but I decorated my doll house which my Grandad built me, with cutouts from Graphotism (a graffiti and street art magazine) which I started to collect in the 90’s!
I didn’t start painting properly until around 2006, when I moved to Birmingham for work and was surrounded by other people who painted, including my brother Miles.
When I first started painting I painted ‘Sez’ but I quickly learnt that it was much more fun to paint characters and I never looked back. I paint under the name Roo as its an abbreviation of my nickname from School ‘Saroo.’ That comes from my actual name which is Sarah, but now most people just call me Roo!
Why do you enjoy what you do?
I think what I really enjoy is the initial creativity of designing my characters from scratch. I love designing something new every time I paint (if I have the time) or taking something and giving it a little twist or developing it in some way, even if it’s tweaking a few lines.
People always comment on the neatness of my work, but that’s because I think I have some form of OCD, so everything HAS to be neat and look exactly how I’d designed it!
When I paint the wall, I like to know exactly what I’m doing and know what colours go where and how every last detail will look. I like to do it that way so I don’t have to think when I get to the wall – I can just paint and drift off into other thoughts!
Why do you mostly paint animals?
I couldn’t think of anything better to paint than animals! I’m a massive animal lover and if I wasn’t an Artist I would 100% be working with animals in some way.
My ultimate goal as an Artist is to work more with companies that help animals and improve the lives of animals, so I can help too, in the way I know how.
What are your links to Southsea?
This year I painted at ‘Look Up’ Festival, but I’ve actually been coming down from London to paint in Southsea for several years now, usually with my partner Skyhigh. The scene in Southsea is growing and has a real strong community vibe which I really value and enjoy being a part of.
Fark is usually our go to man when we come to Southsea, hence how the exhibition came about.
What can people expect from the exhibition?
The upcoming exhibition is a collection of brand NEW artworks that I have created specifically for the Corner Collective Gallery show. There will be a great variety of stuff, from stickers, badges and prints to larger canvases and several 3D works.
There will also be a customised kitty claw machine which you will be able to play and can win a variety of prizes, including one of the prints!
Catch Roo and her crew on opening night, Thursday the 7th at 6pm and also on;
Friday 8th December 11am – 4pm
Saturday 9th December 11am – 4pm
Sunday 10th 11am – 4pm
And then the following weekend.
Find out more about Roo from her Instagram here.