VYAL or VYAL ONE is one of the most identifiable graffiti artists on the West Coast. As his work has matured, his style has become more unique and easy to pick out. Most likely you’ve probably seen his distinctive worka online - perhaps Instagram. With 20+ years painting, VYAL’s compositions not only demonstrate a high level of spray can skillbut the subject matter is xtremely unique lying somewhere between DMT induced psychedelia and floating deep dream state world. To achieve his stylistic compositions, Vyal primarily uses MTN products, from MTN 94 and Hardcore for larger scale projects, toMTN Water Based 300 for his studio work. We took some time to sit down with VYAL ONE to dig a little deeper into his work, his personality and what motivates his work and style.
Spray Planet: What are you trying to transmit with your representations?
VYAL ONE: The afterlife , other dimension, hallucinations, spiritual visions...
Spray Planet: Are there any Graffiti artists that you like and do not know personally?
VYAL ONE: I know A LOT of graffiti writers at this stage in my life!! Lol Im a fan of Futura, Insane 50, and Felipe Pantone , I would have loved to meet DONDI or Ramellzee before they passed away...
Spray Planet: As with many writers/artists, I am sure there are things you do not like about graffiti.
VYAL ONE: Mainly just the normal irritations,gossip, haters, closed-mindedness, internet writers (kids) with no real experience. LOL
Spray Planet: Tell us about your background, your ethnic origins ... can you talk about that?
VYAL ONE: I’m a mixed bag of tricks... but I am only really able to identify with my native/ Chicano cultures / background. A lot of my visual inspiration comes from my cultural influences. Everything from murals to lowiders, to traditional ceremonies and dance.... It all blends together and inspires a lot of my work.
Spray Planet: Talk about your pictorial style – where does that come from? How do you create such unique imagery and ideas?
VYAL ONE: I am fascinated with ideas and concepts around the afterlife which I focus on trying to incorporate inot my work. This ranges from ideas around transcendence, prayer, darkness, and the underworld/afterlife. Not to get too heady, lol but I want my work to submerge or engulf the viewer… I want them to not only to see but to feel the work and ideas behind it.. My life has lead me down a path with the result being that I believe we all live in one giant hallucination every day. Every so oftenyou have the opportunity to stop and with the use of a medicine (my preference being mushrooms lol) you can see the spirit world even if briefly... My work stems from this time of spiritual interaction. I want to live there in my paintings.
Spray Planet: Do you think that makes you different from other graffiti artists?
VYAL ONE: Some, but not all... I know a lot of artists who are in transition and I hope more graffiti artists will follow.
Spray Planet: In addition to your artwork, you are very vocal about your political beliefs. Director Spike Lee has said "the history of the USA was built on genocide and slavery." What does believe that statement suggests?
VYAL ONE: Honestly it’s pretty straight forward. He is simply pointing out that my ancestors have been murdered and enslaved, mentally and spiritually at the hands of other groups of people. We (our culture) are moving forward and making progress every day. Together our voice becomes stronger and our prayers bring forth more results.
Spray Planet: A couple of years ago you had the chance to visit Montana’s home city, Barcelona, Spain. What stands out to you as the biggest differences between North American and European societies?
VYAL ONE: Well it’s hard to say in few words. The traditionally conservative people are always difficult to deal with no matter where you go... Organixed religion / God fearing people make me sick with their simple minded ideas and approach to life. Thankfully, because I produce this type of art my connections with others all over the world tend to be those that are like minded .... revolutionaries.... free thinkers... people who enjoy the process of painting without the expectation of money ... Some people have a really hard time understanding that... why would you want to take your time to make art no one will see or understand!?! Lol. Barcelona writers were very warm and open people. Conversely, the leaders of some of the countries we are forced to call home are pieces of shit. lol
Spray Planet: And what about their graffiti?
VYAL ONE: Like I said the graffiti artists I met were very welcoming and helpful !! Shout out to KRRO NUBE WINS MUSA HARRY BONES etc!!!
Spray Planet: Hailing from the West Coast, do you still see a major differences between the West and East Coast styles reflected in graffiti today?
VYAL ONE: I can’t speak too much about New York because I’m not from there, I can just speak on my perceptions. It seems to me, that New York stays true to their style and history. LA on the other hand, to me, has seemed to grow and open up stylistically.Although we still honor our history, many writers have changed up and started to use more paint brush and other tools – more along the lines of mural creation. I’m sure there’s many people on both coasts experimenting with all kinds of tools to create art. I say use it all.
Spray Planet: If you could leave us with one quote, motivation, or piece of advice that has been useful and helped you learn something, what would that be?
VYAL ONE: “Comfort is the enemy of progress”..... PT BARNUM.... ..... also ...... “ Mehhhh yaaaaa wellllll”.... Sear One fours crew!!! Lol