hometown: los angeles, ca
website: www.vyalone.com and www.graffitisaves.com
Albus Cavus: How long have you been painting?
Vyal: I was introduced to graff as a kid and I started writing Vyal in 1990. Its been a love- hate relationship the entire time. I am thankful that I have been able to continue this long though. Iíve even been able to squeeze out a little bit of a living for myself because of it too, so I am super thankful for that.
AC: That's 18 years. How did your style evolve?
V: It became more colorful for one, the other would be the fact that I allowed other influences besides graffiti to come into play. I got in touch with my ancestry as I grew older so I started incorporating those Aztec and Mayan styles into my work. Here in East LA we have tons of murals by legendary Chicano artists that I look up to such as George Yepes , David and Paul Botello, Willie Herron and of course the muralists of Mexico, like Rivera , Orosco , Siqueros. That much art around you all the time does naturally influence you to develop the mural end of graffiti. It just helped to evolve the movement. If you donít evolve shit just gets stale.
AC: Graffiti saved your life?
V: Yes. Here in LA growing up in the 90s shit was crazy! LA was a war zone, most of the dudes I grew up with got into gangs, got killed or got strung out on drugs. Doing graffiti meant so much to me that I wanted to paint more than go out and get drunk or high. Later on in life I did get mixed up with drugs and when I did, my friends and my crew (MAN ONE , ASYLM etc...) didnít give up on me. Thatís some real love. And my big scary dad was a big influence too.
AC: He made you write?
V: No! He would have kicked my ass worse than any gangster if I got in gang. Haha
AC: What is it about you and black metal?
V: Itís metal in general. I was the only kid on my block who was trying to break dance to Iron Maiden! Iíve been into metal and punk rock ever since I can remember. Itís been a huge influence in my work as well. I mean just look at the album covers! My brother got me into it as a kid. He would play drums and I would stick my head in the bass drum and fall asleep while he was playing! I mostly listen to death and black metal now, grind, doom, stonerÖ All the aboveÖ It helps me stay motivated when I paint. To me, metal has a greater connection to graffiti than rap nowadays. People used to think I worshiped the devil because I listened to metal and they were right! Haha I'm actually more influence by free thinking period now.
AC: I know that one of your recent paintings was blessed by Chicano Priest. You are not as demonic as you'd like us to believeÖ
V: Yeah! That was a real honor! Thatís something that Iíll remember for a long time. Much more meaningful to me than any job that Iíve ever done. My spirit is good, Iím a decent person, and I support and believe in the Chicano movement. Itís who I am and I try and give back through my work as much as I can. Tiahui!
AC: And also you got this tiny cute puppyÖ
V: He's good and getting so big. His name is Shadow or Sombra en espanol. He's a German Shepard. Black like my soul. And I'm thinking of flying him out to New York so he can run through Central Park! But he flies coach, I'm not paying first class for his ass. Shit, he lives better than me already.
AC: I bet he sleeps in your bed.
V: Dude, no way! Iím a man! I donít sleep all cute with my dog, dogÖ LA is crazy!!! Gangs, drugs, police! OK, maybe every now and then he might slip by. haha
AC: Gallery shows or graffiti jams?
V: Graffiti jams. There are less people with sticks up their asses and the jams are challenging, fun and stinky.
AC: What is next after Concrete Alchemy?
V: Denmark and more Concrete Alchemy!
AC: What is going on in Denmark?
V: Hopefully things go well. My plans are to show in Denmark at Plain Gallery . Are there any Taco Trucks in Denmark?
AC: For what?
V: I just might have myself a taco truck and cruise Europe.
AC: Favorite color and why?
V: Black. When I paint it's black red, black green, telemagenta, aubergien, pear and hemp. These were colors that werenít available to us until when I was growing up... I think seeing them in my work gets me hyped up.
AC: Shout outs:
V: JEYD, SHADOW (chadoooo), my familia! AMILIE! WERC, SHERM, AEGIS, CROLLER, MANONE, ASYLM, OG ABEL, MATT33rd, and all my tour mates!