Nuno Viegas was born in Faro, in 1985, and raised in Quarteira. He came from a middle-class family. On his mother’s side a fisherman’s family and on his father’s side, a farmer’s family. Nuno was blessed to be brought up in a stable environment away from major struggles and surrounded by good moral values. As a teenager, he started to carve his personality as an artist and in 1999 he discovered graffiti. This was a turning point in his life and initiated the events that unfolded and influenced Nuno. It was during this time that being a rebel was at its peak and he began hitting the streets with his friends, meeting new people, and connecting with more people who shared the same creative interests.
In the Early 2000’s – Hip Hop was booming in his city and artists were bounded by specific disciplines, graffiti writing, rapping, breakdancing, and Djing. “Some of us enrolled in multiple disciplines but we all knew we were part of the same school and all of us were eager to learn more about it and develop more and more our individual styles. With the late arrival of Hip Hop culture in the south of Portugal, information rolled out much slower, and compared to the USA we were about 30 years behind, especially outside the social housing projects – it was there already since the ’80s but wouldn’t come out sadly due to some kind of social stigma and oppression towards the people living in these projects – mainly African people who were brought to Portugal to evade war in their countries which were Portuguese Colonies.” – Nuno Viegas
Hip hop culture had a lot of influence on your artwork. Can you tell us about some additional supporting factors that had an impact on your career?
While experiencing my teenage freedom and exploring this amazing new world, I always kept in mind that I should pursue school studies. I was never a top-class student, I was average plus one point haha. In high school, I studied Information Technology. After high school, I studied Computer Engineering at the University which I quit after 4 years. During this period I had completed 35 classes out of about 40 possible. I was going through hard times and had to quit giving me a huge feeling of relief.
In the year, 2009, I attended university again and started studying visual arts for the first time in my life. After I took a post-graduation and earned my master’s degree. In a total of 5 years studying arts, I never developed painting, I was more focused on installation art, photography, and video. In 2014 I Emigrated to Rotterdam and here I had an internship with Tymon de Laat and that’s where the whole painting thing was born. Until then my only serious connection to painting was graffiti writing – letters. I learn a lot from Tymon and also Robert Rost (This guy knows sooo much about painting materials!) I also learn a lot by trial and error, especially when it comes to technique.
I quickly started to use acrylic paint on canvas to portray my roots in graffiti and all of a sudden I found myself with a solid concept in my hands.
One day I attended a Telmo Miel’s exhibition in Rotterdam at Sober Gallery, in this show I met Peter Ernest Coolen, a guy from Amsterdam. He asked if I was also an artist, I said yes and showed him my work. After scrolling through my phone Peter said “I’m putting up a street art museum in Amsterdam, would you like to do a piece for it?” I remember this so clearly… It was incredible, this guy just invited me to join a museum! I was painting for about a year and I now have the chance to do a museum piece! This guy changed my life – Thank you so much, brother!
This was the kick-off for my career as an independent artist. Working with Peter triggered the attention of Yasha Young and then one day I received a message on Instagram from Yasha reacting to my piece for Peter’s museum saying – “I love this! I’m building a museum – Urban Nation Berlin, would you like to join?” I couldn’t believe what was happening to me! Yasha took a major role in my career, launched me to the spotlight and kept supporting me throughout all these years.
After working with Urban Nation I met Giancarlo from Graffiti Prints. We started working together on editions and he came in as the one who changed my financial game. I remember the day we were at GP’s Headquarters and Giancarlo said “In 5 years time you will be doing major street art festivals like pow wow, you will be doing collabs with great artists, you will be working with great galleries like Thinkspace…” – We had this conversation less than 3 years ago. I have done collabs with artists I look up to like Fanakapan and the GOAT Akut from Maclaim Crew. I have painted for Pow Wow’s first European edition, in Rotterdam and this year, damn, I’m having a solo show in Los Angeles with Thinkspace! I am truly grateful for all these amazing people and light in my life and make sure I do my very best everyday with this opportunity!
While living in Rotterdam I met a local artist, Kaili Smith, a super focused and determined guy! When I met him I was on my internship at Tymon and Robert’s gallery and Kaili basically just walks in, shows his work and says – Can I do a show here? Balls! And he did it. Since then we kept in touch and later he invited me to collaborate for his solo show in Amsterdam in 2016. Kaili will be showing solo in the main room of Thinkspace at the same time I have my solo show in another section of the gallery. From Rotterdam to LA, feels magic! Thank you Brother! Wish you the Best!