In the studio with … Nuno Viegas

Portuguese artist Nuno Viegas visited the URBAN NATION last week and created an impressive installation for the museum. We met him to ask him a few questions about himself and his current work.

Originally from / now living in?

Originally from Quarteira in Portugal, close to Faro. Now I live in Rotterdam for many years.

You in the past, present & future?

I get in touch with graffiti when I was 13 or 14 years old. It must be around 1999. After the school I went to university and studied computer engineering. After four years triggered by my friends and my deeper involvement into the graffiti-scene I quit the studies and started to study visual arts at the University of Algarve. After I finished my masters I went to Rotterdam and did an internship by a painter. That was a turning point in my life and an important step in my career as an artist.

Favourite material & why?

Spray can! It is a quick tool to work with and doing the fadings and blendings is great. Also you can do very realistic stuff. I also like the smell. But i know it is very unhealthy, so i guess in the future I will use a different material.

Favourite own work?

My first stuff! It was a red shirt mask and it was a turning point in my career. When I look at it, I am still excited.

Favourite work from another artist?

Puh! There are so many artists that I appreciate. Many painters, photographers and performance artists influenced my work. It is difficult to name one especially. But if I have to, then I have to name Telmo Miel and Fanakapan. When I saw Telmo Miel the first time, I was really fascinated. With the work they inspired me to do my own stuff. Fanakapan is legendary! His tight technic, the way he drops shadows is unique. He also is an awesome dude, that I look up to, because he is very supportive and I never expected to get to know him.

Biggest inspiration?

My grandfather. He was no artist, he was an forest engineer, had nothing to do with art, but the way he treated me, the love he gave and the relationship we had influenced very strongly my being today

One wish for free – what would you wish for?

I would wish for everybody, that they have the possibility to feel what I feel. I am very grateful and happy for the vibe that I have, the way I can live. And I would also wish for a peaceful world.

Pop, Punk or Electro?

Hip Hop

Legal vs illegal?


Outside or inside?

Definitely outside! Your work is open for everybody – the ones that love it and the ones who hate it.

Solo or collab?

Collab, because you are sharing the moment and the knowledge with the person(s) you work with.

What is the reason for your participation at URBAN NATION’s “Live in the Museum”?

I know Yasha (creative director of URBAN NATION) for quit a long time. This year I already worked together with SNIK for the URBAN NATION “Unity” project in May and I also did one of the artworks for “The Monster Project”. So when I worked on an installation for another project in Rotterdam we had a long discussion about my installation and the possibility to participate at “Live in the museum” with my own work.

What is the story behind your work for URBAN NATION?

At the end it all comes down to the graffiti scene. From my perspective the history of graffiti is written wrong. For many people graffiti, compared with mural painting or street art in general, is visual pollution. But for me it is the most honest art genre. So the installation is a portrait of the graffiti-scene, where the art comes with an intention and is more important than the artist. That is the reason why the dummies are wearing the scarves. Graffiti writers are phantoms, the scarf is the mask, has a shape, but u do not recognise the face or get any information about the person behind the scarf. The graffiti is the only thing that counts!

Used material?

  • Aerosol on wall
  • Figure I:155x49x50cm
  • Figure II:160x50x40cm
  • Figure III:170x50x40cm
  • Clothing and acrylic paint on puppets made of silicon
  • plaster of paris, plastic foil, tape and paper

photos by Nika Kramer