Friday, October 30, 2009

INSPIRE Collective Interview w/ Vandalog

The Thousands, originally uploaded by vandalog.

We usually keep our eyes open for quality independent art & artists. We're also curious about other web sites which help promote public art. is one site we're diggin' like a shovel... We asked RJ of Vandalog a few questions about public art, independent artists, and the growing world-wide community of public art; here's what he had to say:

"RJ, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into appreciate graffiti, street, and public art in general?"

My dad actually got me into the whole scene. He came home from work one day almost two years ago and asked me if I knew about some guys called Faile. He'd bought a print by them. Neither of us had been seriously interested in art before that, but we both fell in love with the world of street art and haven't looked back since. Right now I'm taking a gap year before heading off to university next fall, and street art is the overarching theme for my year.

"Its always good to see another public art site out there appreciating independent artists, how did Vandalog begin?"

I started Vandalog about 1 year ago as a way to keep up to date on street art news and increase my involvement with the street art community. Because I post something every day, I always have to be on the look out for news or something interesting to write about, and when I go to gallery openings or visit another city, I can reach out to artists or blog readers and immediately I have some connections in that city who can tell me all the cool things to do. And of course, it's a great way to help promote my friends' projects.

"What is your favorite post on Vandalog?"
Well one thing that I really enjoy is hearing about artists that other artists enjoy. Last December I ran a series of posts called Great in 08 where I asked a bunch of street artists who they thought had really killed it in 2008. The variety of responses was surprising, and I was even introduced to some artists who are now on my list of personal favorites like Booker and the ADHD Kids.

"Who are your favorite artists & what kind of works do you have in your home?"
I think that my all time favorite has to be Swoon, but right now I'm really enjoying what Judith Supine and JR are doing. Burning Candy in the UK and Booker and the ADHD Kids in New York are bridging the gap between graffiti and street art, so that's really interesting to me. Outside of street art and graffiti, Gilbert and George never cease to amaze me. There's a lot of art in my house, but the pieces I look at the most (because they are right next to my desk) are by Chris Stain and Kurt Halsey.

"Why do you think street art, graff & public art in general is important?"

Forget about art-world politics and the exposure that an artist or writer can get by painting outdoors instead of going though the gallery system, that's all secondary to me. The most important reason public art (legal or illegal) is necessary is to get everyday people who might never go to a museum or gallery enjoying art. Thanks to public art, people can look at art on their way to work and in a much more comfortable environment than a white-walled gallery. Personally, since I'm pretty much spending all my time on street art things, it's grown beyond that, but at the end of the day the fact that I can walk down the street with my friends and enjoy art or bring them into a gallery where they aren't uncomfortable is just amazing.

"Could you tell us about a favorite show you've been to recently?"

I'm the first to admit that I am woefully ignorant of art outside of the tiny sphere of street art and a bit of graffiti, so seeing the Pop Life show at the Tate Modern was a very cool experience. Street art and graffiti constantly asks the question "what is art?" but Jeff Koons and Elaine Sturtevant are exploring those same questions in an entirely different way.

And the FAME Festival in Italy was probably the street art event of the year (at least tied with Banksy versus The Bristol Museum). The lineup of artists like Judith Supine, Mark Jenkins and Blu is hard to top. It's hard to describe what FAME is like, but the artists have really taken over this small Italian town and transformed it. Just check out Hookedblog's photos

The other great thing about FAME is that people flew in from as far away as LA to see it, so everybody there was super-friendly and just as interested in street art as I am.

"What is your favorite public art site on the web?"

is my favorite photo-blog by a mile. Sebastian finds all the amazingly talented artists that nobody else has ever heard of or thought to cover.

And of course, with inspirecollective posting more than any other public art blog I can think of, it's a great source of photos and videos because I know that if something is interesting, you are going to cover it.

"Who do you think we should interview next?"

Luna Park and Becki from

know what they are talking about and are great people. Definitely hit them up.

"Vandalog publishes quality material and helps global folks to appreciate, keep up the good work, RJ!"

Thanks Inspire.

Happy to hear about your inspirations, RJ!
Also, RJ also has a street art book available HERE.

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