Monday, October 26, 2009

VENG Interview

We first met Veng from Robots Will Kill on a hot summer rooftop while painting away on the James & Karla Murray Store Fronts for the MOM&POPism show.
We have to be honest, we were very intimidated by the Robots Will Kill crew. Those guys have paid their dues for a very long time, and to us here at Abztract, it was much like meeting the band you were listening to in hopes to get inspiration while you attempted to start your own band.

As artists, you always look for inspiration and the crew at RWK have been on our radar for a very long time. Now that we had the chance to collaborate with Chris and Veng from RWK, we had the pleasure to chat with Veng and ask him a bit about what inspires him, who the characters in his paintings are and if all of it is connected to one another.


How do you describe your art? Is there a story attached to the characters you paint?
I would describe my art as semi realistic on the surface, while abstract in thought and design. For the characters there is not so much a story with them but a look. I wanted to have characters that were different and stood on their own. They end up being a mesh of all the things I have been inspired from, 15th century paintings to contemporary styles.

Does that lead to one specific thing you enjoy painting most?
I can’t say there is one thing I love to paint more then another, nature is a favorite topic though (birds, insects, leaves,).

Does that help you evolve as an artist?
For me it's a day to day thing, all I can say is that I hope to be able to paint till the end, learn new things and meet new people along the way.

You have been painting as part of the Robots Will Kill family for a while. When you paint, is there a difference between paintings as part of RWK as compared to painting just as Veng?
To me there is no difference; the only difference is it’s with old friends or new ones.

What drew you to working with them and how did you all meet?
I'm from Staten Island where rwk was started and over the years we eventually met, we knew the same people and just started to paint and we got along and had similar interest, so it just fit to be part of the same group. I met ecb through the event meeting of styles and just became good friends beyond just painting walls. Loomit who is not rwk but just a good friend I had met on my first trip to Germany and ever since have painted with him over there.

It seems like you travel a lot to Europe. How is it painting abroad in comparison to painting back home?
For me Europe is the ultimate, the writers over there have tons of techniques, have spaces to paint I only wish were back in NY.
The biggest thing from over there to here is the overall corporation the cities have to spray paint art rather than here, but I feel its better here now than ever. NY is where home is for me though and for that its special.

Is there a place locally here in NY or abroad that you enjoy painting most? And if so, why that place?
Tough question. Spain was amazing the writers there are painting machines, Germany for its techniques and its work ethic. NY for its vibe. There is not one place I enjoy more and can only hope to explore tons of new places in the future.

It seems that due to the economic struggle, galleries all across the world and even here at home in NYC are closing up shop. The economy is really affecting the art scene and it almost seems like there are more and more people coming out trying to save, or better yet, keep the art scene afloat. Do you sense that the art scene is coming back better and stronger?
These are tough times for sure; time will tell if it’s better and stronger. It depends on the artists!!

So as an artist, what method or ideas are you currently exploring?
I have been working on trompe l'œil pieces again and I am having a lot of fun looking deeper into what I'm painting. With painting I'm looking to explore more texture effects from animal fur to metals etc.

Well it seems like your art is very detailed and time consuming. When you paint on canvas or on a wall, do you get attached to it? Or do you paint so that you can let them be part of someone's home or community?
For me art is about making people feel connected to it in some way, so I only can hope people feel this when they buy or see work of mine in the street. I’m connected to everything I paint and look at it to try to achieve better results for the next piece, but I’m more excited to get the pieces out of my mind to let new ones in.

Ok, last question: If you could ask any artist dead or alive one question, who would it be and what would you ask them?
Very easy question! Jan van Eyck and what his process was for painting and the medium he used. His work to me is the best in that his surfaces are one of a kind. Much debate has been over how and what he did so to know this would be amazing.

You can see VENG's full work at his Flickr page by clicking here.