At CustomInk, we love custom artwork and the artists behind it. It’s always fun and inspiring to see how others go about their creative process. So, we’ve decided to feature some impressive artists to help get those creative juices flowing.
Here we meet Nils Westergard, a street artist based in Richmond, Virginia. Get to know Nils a little bit better with the help of our
CustomInk: What made you want to become an artist?
Nils: I was in band in middle school and I hated it. I switched into art class and at the same time started doing graffiti. It just kind of fit. I took to stencils pretty quickly and it filled my time and OCD tendencies pretty well. It’s kind of a zen thing. Now I can’t really imagine my life without it. Being able to live off of it just kind of came secondary.
CustomInk: What do you hope to achieve with your art?
Nils: I really just want to paint in as many places around the world as possible. And I want to do larger and larger walls. I don’t really have a good rationale behind this desire. It probably comes from a graffiti background, but ultimately that’s what I’d love to do.
CustomInk: What piece of your art are you most proud of and why?
Nils: This is a tough question. I kind of live by the sense that you should hate almost everything you do so you continue to get better. But as far as a pure physical feat goes, my wall in Ostrava makes me proud because I managed to do the whole thing in 2 days. Totally bluffed saying I could do that, but I made it happen anyway.
CustomInk: Is there another art form you’d love to master?
Nils: I’d like to get back into film, which I studied, and I always thought a well-made sculpture beats the best painting in the world. So, we’ll see what the future holds.
CustomInk: What’s your most indispensable tool or office supply?
Nils: X-acto knife.
CustomInk: What are your thoughts on the digitization of art—traditional by hand vs. art created digitally?
Nils: Digital art can be beautiful and has its place. It has become an indispensable tool for many artists, and tons of
animation is done completely on the computer. It allows otherwise broke people to make grand films and create pictures that 30 years ago would have been impossible. My art has its middle stage on a computer. I definitely rely on it for my process. That being said, I hand-cut all of my stencils. I believe in the imperfections of the hand, and I believe in the time committed to a process. People will see my stencils or maps that I cut and say that I could’ve just laser cut that in an afternoon, but that just feels wrong to me. That being said, I’m 24 now, and my wrist is already giving me problems. Will I say the same thing at 34?
CustomInk: Where do you think clothing fits into the art world?
Nils: Ehhhh. I appreciate a good t-shirt or hoodie, and especially one with a clever design. I mean, printmaking is what I do for my studio work and making a t-shirt is literally just screen printing onto fabric, so it can unquestionably be art, but I wouldn’t say that it is by default. It can travel in a way that most other art can’t. But that being said, I pay zero attention to the world of high fashion.
CustomInk: What is your favorite t-shirt that you own?
Nils: Jeremy Fish designed Aesop Rock mammoth tank tee.
CustomInk: What’s the last picture you took on your phone? Does it inspire you in any way?
Nils: I don’t have a smartphone, so I rarely take photos with my phone. The last picture I have on my flip-phone is this funny cat that jumped onto a wall above me. I sent it to my girlfriend because she likes cats.