The final part of our series on incredible new street artists that get an invisible hand from those that came before. See our previous pieces on SAMO/Basquiat, pioneering street artists, and profiles on Amara Por Dios, Felipe Pantone, Lilly Lou, and Alex Proba.
VEW is an artist who also happens to be highly proficient in graffiti. The native New Yorker can’t provide his real name or too many personal details about himself, because he’s still very active in the streets, but I can tell you that he’s between 20 and 30-years-old and has consistently kept his name out there with panache.
Not one to conform to a particular style, his public autograph appears as script, block, and pixelated letters, and even some crazy wavy shit. He’s very good at doing characters as well and other abstract pieces, giving his illicit work more public appeal than typical graffiti. More of a lone wolf, VEW doesn’t get all caught up in the graffiti crew thing, but he does have a cadre of co-conspirators like DEK, DISTORT, and NEG.
He has also painted subway cars, the holy grail of graffiti writers. Despite his impressive record, VEW toils with all the rules and limitations of the outlaw art form. Even with its general fuck-the-system nature, graffiti is way more conservative than street art. Unlike some writers who have an aversion with street art and may even use it as a derisive, VEW feels differently. “I dig it. It’s cool. It serves a purpose,” he said in an interview. “I’m a lover of all types of art.”
In addition to mastering spray paint, VEW has been experimenting with highly abstract wood cutouts that he then installs on construction sheds like a pop-up street gallery.
VEW said that sometimes he gets bored with his ego-centric campaigns and instead of just writing his name, he uses his abilities to promote some more meaningful messages, like the time he trolled ISIS with a Star Wars-themed piece—to the delight of even the usually graffiti-hating New York Post—or his very public ridiculing of Trump on the Williamsburg Bridge.
For VEW, placement is more important than quantity. He’d rather hit a few high profile spots than just bomb his name like a logo all over the city. “I’ve been about quality since day one,” he once said. “My style is very colorful and simple yet detailed.”