Since I first came across a Nomadé wall in LA two years ago (and then more and more work), I've been intrigued who's behind it, and what they're up to; so here's the interview.
Nomadé is a collective; what brought you together, and what's the spirit behind it?
We were all working creatively, but concentrating our individual efforts on commercial work. We each enjoy and appreciate art, street art particularly. We each played around, here and there…nothing too serious. There came a point, though, where we were done messing around just for “fun”... So we began working together on real ideas. Considering we each come from artistic backgrounds and having all worked collaboratively in the past, as a group we feel we are much stronger. Pretty soon we were convinced that we were building something special.
I've been seeing work on the streets of LA, San Francisco & New York for a couple of years now, and yet in all that time there's been almost no information about Nomadé. Is the anonymity because you're private people, for legal reasons, or is it important to the work somehow? Is the plan to stay anonymous indefinitely?
We don’t mean to be overly secretive, but for obvious reasons we have been careful about our identities. It has almost worked in our favor, as it has allowed the work to speak for us. Anonymity has given us the opportunity to speak clearly, with one clear voice.
Have we been anonymous too long? Maybe. It has become more and more difficult...we have been drawing more attention. However, we feel no rush to come out from behind the curtain.
All your work features Roman imagery; is the motivation for that based on aesthetics, the symbolism of invasion & warfare, or the specific history of Rome?
We borrow from Greek antiquity as well. This imagery is powerful because it can conjure up so many ideas in the viewer’s mind. You would be correct to say that it symbolizes invasion, warfare, dominance and honor. But not only in the literal sense but in an artistic way as well. He represents a creative force, trying to find his place in our world. By placing Nomadé in various contexts, we can touch on subjects we find interesting, such as urban decay and commercial and industrial growth. With so many powerful symbols and motifs associated with the imagery, we thought it was a great fit for us.
Are any of you active as solo artists outside of Nomadé? On the street?
We have all sworn allegiance to Nomadé, all of our creative energies are reserved for the cause. Actually, we all work in creative fields outside of Nomadé.
I think there's some skepticism based on recent events that new street artists are following a formula created by Banksy, motivated by money rather than art. How do you avoid that, and do you feel constrained by it? When and how do you plan to make art that people can buy?
For us, it is truly about the work. We enjoy producing the art and the overall development process. We have the benefit of being able to debate and brainstorm within the group. Our hope is that our creations will draw interest on their own and are powerful enough to reach out to people in their unique way. That is our motivation, that is what drives us.
As for the concern regarding this “formula” created by Banksy, and the skepticism surrounding it, we honestly feel that the group doesn’t feel any of the constraints that may have been generated by this issue. We try not to be constrained by anything. We began doing this because we love the work, but sure, it wouldn’t hurt if someday Nomadé was financially self-sufficient. It would be great if we could do bigger and greater projects.
It’s great that people are responding to the work. Actually, we have prints available right now. At the studio, we are currently working on large-scale paintings. But we’ve been so consumed by making the art that we forget that people might want to get their hands on it. The hope is that we will have multiple prints available online. Our website is under construction but should be up soon.
Which street artists do you admire, and what aspects would you like to incorporate in your work?
There are some truly amazing things happening on the street. We respect what Faile, WK, and Shepard Fairey are doing – Their unbridled creative spirit, boldness, and true originality. We appreciate their print-making techniques, large-scale prints and pasteups, and overall accessibility to the public.
What's coming up for Nomadé?
“Marxist Glue” on October 28, at The Holdup Gallery in Little Tokyo. There will be 12 other notable street artists also participating, including Skullphone, Robbie Connel, ABCNT, Cryptic, and Sharktoof, just to name a few. Should be great event. We hope Unurth makes an appearance! We all are so busy getting ready, it should be a blast. We have much more planned for the street and we have a few other things brewing, so we’ll keep you posted.
What everyone should know is...
We’ve only just begun.
See more by Nomadé, and join their facebook group.
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