We had the good fortune of connecting with Vasco Del Rey and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Vasco, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Art was something i have always done but it wasn’t until 10th grade, in that loud art room, wearing silly bands and eating Trader Joe’s bell peppers, watching a Basquiat documentary that i realized. Wow. I’m going to do that too.

Sometime in high school my papa sat my brothers and i down to tell us about the struggles he encountered when he first came here. As a non english speaking immigrant it was difficult for him but with perseverance he became a prime example of the American Dream. He paved the way for us in this country. Seeing him do that gave me the courage to choose art regardless of what anybody said to me, i thought.. my papa did it and so can i.

I realized at some point that I process things best through images. For example, whenever someone says something funny or relevant i go “wait! there’s a meme for that”. My brain interprets emotions especially in images, i feel as though i need to find a way to compose everything so that it makes sense but so that it also looks beautiful. I constantly obsess with compositions, i once spent 15 minutes arranging dog food just to find a pleasing composition. I’m not a control freak i promise. Life itself is so chaotic but there’s also so much order. I just look for balance in life and i think that’s where art comes very much in handy. It makes life makes sense to me.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
First of all thank you for having me back, i appreciate the hospitality. I think the main thing that has separated me from most is my childhood. I grew in a very remote region in southern Mexico where some didn’t have access to electricity. I came here at the age of eight, unaware of most American norms and very much confused (haha). So from the very beginning i was faced with a unique set of challenges that eventually found expression through my work.

I love using colors and typography to express what i see all around me. For example, when i’m working on a mural i love listening to the background conversations happening and finding inspiration in what someone just said. I let people do little touches on my murals because i love seeing the diversity of expression each person possesses. Specially if they’re not painters! I’m also very fascinated by 1970s advertisements, as of recently i have begun treating my work as if i’m creating an ad for that era but with our modern lingo.

Where i am now is due to a multitude of reasons. I have been blessed by so many people, the world is filled with so much kindness, i do my best to remember that each day. Early on i was supported tremendously by little jobs here and there, given by friend’s parents or grandparents (you know who you are). As an immigrant you’re not allowed to have full time jobs and they knew this so they did what they could to show their appreciation. Acts like these nurtured me, literally. I was able to buy art supplies and feed myself because of them. I spent most of my time reading, studying and drawing. I was aware my skills weren’t where I wanted them to be but that didn’t mean they couldn’t be. It wasn’t easy but little by little i taught myself many things and of course with the guidance of some mentors i was able to arrive at a place where i felt very confident in my own skills.

Connectivity is what i have learned most. No matter era or location, humans thrive on connectivity. We like sharing stories that carry meaning, and meaning is something we arrive at when we realize the value in impermanence. Nothing lasts forever, each moment is so great if we recognize that there’ll never be a day like this one again. Very much like early humans who painted on cave walls thousands of years ago, i too hope that my expressions find their ways to the heart and eyes of future generations so they may derive something meaningful from my experiences.
I have spent these past few weeks creating a place where people of diverse cultural backgrounds can share their unique experiences and tune in to others stories, all of this through Clubhouse. I created this with the intention of allowing us to dive deep into who we are and possibly finding some value in what others have to say as well. I will link my Clubhouse at the end of this if you’re interested in being part of it.

I want the world to know that i am a dreamer. and i know i’m not the only one. No matter what life throws at us. We are strong. We are beautiful. We are capable of so much goodness. Let your heart guide you. I could’ve died twice and have faced many addictions, i have experienced grief of loved ones and yet i know that we are all stronger than these things. I choose to keep dreaming because i know someone out there could really use the reminder that we can indeed create the reality we desire. My art is an extension of who i am, a message to those who suffer that we are inherently good and that we are worthy of all the love and joy the world has to offer. Keep on dreaming.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
In the morning we would hike up Runyon to watch the sun rise, trust me you’ll thank me later. Once we get our Zen on and say a few gratitude messages and vow to the sun, we could drive down to Kreation to grab enough Juice and goodies to last us for the whole week. We can skip breakfast because intermittent fasting(duh) but if you really wanted to, Cafe gratitude would provide the best vegan and gluten-free pancakes. Luckily for us there would be no traffic and we could zoom over to the Broad where we can spent at least 3 hours loving and discussing our favorite art pieces, also maybe trying to take one and run out (if they catch us i’ll definitely say it was your idea). After the museum visit, we could go to the Wiltern and watch Pulp Fiction on the big screen and pretend its the 90s again. Afterwards we would have to go back home to freshen up and pick such an outrageous but sexy outfit for the night, maybe two in case we want to change identities throughout the night (life is a play, choose any character). We would have two options, go to Rachel Harris’s paint party or Riley Reid’s birthday. Either one you chose, in this case let’s say the paint party, we could go in with Matty Mo aka themostfamousartist and have some organic mezcal drinks on the house with dozens other artists as we cover various walls and ourselves with paint. Of course this would be an all night event so in the morning in case of a hang over we can take ginger/cayenne shots and drive down to Joshua Tree where we could spend days hiking and camping as we observe the night sky and question our place in this little blue dot. Your last day in LA would end with an intimate dinner and game night with close friends while we cheers and celebrate life.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d love to shoutout PIECES, especially the founder Lalo Marquez for giving me the mentorship and guidance during my adolescent years. Lalo began the organization above to help young artists develop their skills and to create an environment where we could share and create art together. I value everything he has done for many of us and continues to do for our communities.

Website: vascoartist.com

Instagram: VascoDelRey

Other: Clubhouse: VascoDelRey

Image Credits
main photograph shot by Croosh

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.