Meet husband and wife team Hayley Welsh and Andy Faraday, a creative duo from the UK who, a couple of years ago, embarked on the ultimate US road-trip. They purchased an iconic yellow school bus which would become their home, office and transport for the next 3 months. This trip inspired the artist/photographer pair to pursue a life of creativity on the road, recognising the importance of exploration, meeting new people and changing perspectives.
Words and Photography by: Hayley Welsh and Andy Faraday - @andy.faraday | @hayleywelsh
How did you make The Yellow Bus adventure into a reality?
We’ve always tried to do what we enjoy and are passionate about really. We are both risk-takers, love doing new things and try to say ‘yes’ to life and opportunities that come our way.
Travelling and creating is our life, so The School Bus Project really pushed us to take this to a whole new level. We’d always wanted to travel across America, it was on the bucket list. We knew we needed a vehicle which we could travel, live and work in, so we thought what better way to do it than in an epically American, bright yellow school bus? It was nearly a breaking bad style Winnebago, but our 1st choice pulled through.
We wanted to make a project out of the trip and decided we were going to catch up with creatives along the way, create art and finish up with an exhibition in New York, showcasing what we’d been up to in the last 3 months. Ultimately, we wanted to challenge ourselves, so moving out of our comfortable home to live and create in a school bus, really pushed us out of our comfort zones. We are both firm believers that creativity blossoms in uncomfortable and challenging places, so we used that to drive us forward and the project really embraced that exciting unpredictability of the adventure.
We had such a blast with the original yellow school bus, that when we revisited California in 2016 for our honeymoon, we went out looking for a similar vehicle to take to Burning Man. We stumbled across a yellow box van, same One Tonne Chevy engine as the school bus, but with no windows. It turned out to be a blessing, keeping it majorly cool inside and keeping the dust out.
Do you have one iconic memory from your trip that inspired you forward?
Ah wow, looking back on our travels they are full of stories - lows and highs. I guess one which will stick with both of us was the first time we drove the school bus and went across the Golden Gate Bridge only to blow a tire halfway across. We nearly crashing the bus, had to wait to be picked up on the side of the road and were then towed off the bridge into an unsavoury part of town. Some dodgy looking mechanics swapped our tires out whilst their friends where drinking 40’s under the bridge outside. It felt like a scene out of Grand Theft Auto, and we weren’t sure how the night was going to pan out. After we got chatting to them though we realised they were just genuinely happy to help and were a lovely group of people. All these things were just part of the adventure and we tried to make the most of every part of it.
Where is the most meorable place you’ve visited on your journey so far and why?
There’s so many - it’s so hard to pick. Morro Bay in California was a pretty epic spot. We travelled there with the school bus on a super windy day, when the sea was so stormy and the sand was hectic. Two years later in our yellow box van, we parked at the exact same spot on the most calm and beautiful sunny day. Each time the view and energy in the place was amazing, and somehow that patch of sand feels like a home away from home.
I think we can both agree that a certain New York rooftop overlooking the city could be our current favourite place - I was making photographs and hanging out with our American girlfriends whilst Hayley was painting on a huge wall. It was one of her creatures flying over the New York skyline. New York is an amazing city and I think we both left a bit of our soul on that rooftop that night.
However, Black Rock City in the Nevada Desert for Burning Man last year was a place like no other. So inspiring, so many art sculptures, amazing people, a beautiful gifting economy, such a harsh climate but with the friendliest of people. Andy made lots of images out there in the Black Rock Desert, gifting polaroids to people and bringing loads home to collaborate on, which formed the basis of our most recent collaborative show, “In This Together”. For this project, we found ourselves once again, buying a small box van/mini truck, this time in Australia. We created a ‘Lost Show’ transforming the truck into a mobile art exhibition, hidden within the dark streets of Perth, releasing clues via email as to its final location. It was a great project to create and really brought the community together.
Do you have another big travel/creative adventure in the pipeline currently?
Currently, we are based in Perth, Australia, working in our studio on a range of projects, merging travel and art, including a mobile camera obscura, which we plan to tour around the state. In June, we’ll be heading back to the Northern Hemisphere, where we’ll be curating 'Blackburn Open Walls', a street art project we founded in Hayley’s home-town in the UK last year, and over the Summer we look forward to exploring a bit more of Europe too.
You both create such inspiring work, how much does seeing the world in the unique way you do inspire this?
I guess we both get bored with the same old routine and so travelling and creating our art is the perfect way to jolt us out of a routine and find inspiration in different places and inspire others to do what they love too. When you travel you learn to think on your feet and see opportunities rather than problems. Overall, I think that way of thinking has helped us create the pathway we're on today. Not settling for the easy path and pushing ourselves to follow our passions, is what drives us in the right direction and what our artwork ultimately explores too.
What does travel mean to you?
Travel I guess to us means freedom - freedom outside everyday routines - a chance to meet new people, explore new places and open yourself up to new possibilities and unpredictabilities.