If you really, really know your street art, you know that it’s is a nod to the now-discontinued “Icy Grape” Krylon spray paint color still coveted by the street artist community.
It won’t come as a surprise that Hush, the U.K.-based artist who curated the art for Vandal, drew his strongest inspirations from graphic novels, animation and — of course — some of the most well-known and well-respected street artists of our time.
“I wanted to bring the outside inside to represent street aesthetics and complement the eclectic street food-inspired menu Chef Santos has prepared,” Hush said.
When anime-inspired characters and pop-infused imagery meet, they create a certain “wallscape” that reflects the dynamism of contemporary, global street art, while paying homage to the Bowery’s artistic history. The menu, a collaboration between Chef Santos and Vandal’s Executive Chef Jonathan Kavourakis, includes nods to global street culture of locales from Chile to Thailand, Greece to Amsterdam and beyond.
There are several themes running through the seven massive murals and curated photos and paintings that house the bi-level, 22,000 square foot restaurant: the female form; the contrasts between old and new, the fusion of Eastern and Western culture.
We’ve broken down the 7 murals by artist to give you a closer look at what makes Vandal feel more like a museum than a restaurant.
As a skateboard-obsessed art student, Frank Shepard Fairey held a part-time job in a skateboarding shop and had a strong interest in the street art culture and graffiti movement. One of the most influential street artists of our time, Shepard Fairey’s work has been used in screen-prints, stencils, stickers, masking film illustrations,, sculptures, posters, paintings, and murals. One of his most famous works includes his portrait of Barack Obama, which drew national attention and received the Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award in 2009. At VANDAL, Shepard Fairey created two large murals on facing walls by using his wheat-pasting technique and his famed, propaganda-style art.
Born in Los Angeles, Tristan Eaton began pursuing street art as a teenager, painting everything from walls to billboards in the urban landscape wherever he lived, including London, Detroit and Brooklyn. After growing up on comic books, graffiti and skateboard culture, Tristan designed his first toy for Fisher Price at 18 years old and began working as an artist full-time. He has since become a driving force in the world of ‘Art Toys’, designing the Dunny and Munny figures for Kidrobot.
Shortly after studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York City, Tristan founded Thunderdog Studios, of which he was the President and Creative Director for 10 years. Tristan’s work can be seen in galleries around the world and in the permanent collection of the New York Museum of Modern Art. Eaton’s mural on the back wall at The Library at Vandal was painted onto four custom bookshelves and depicts retro-inspired portraits of women alongside large text that reads “FANTASTIC FANTASY.”
APEX, AKA Ricardo Richey, creates colorful abstract patterns with spray paint. As part of the Gestalt Collective that participates in collaborative murals in San Francisco, he’s curated projects on Bluxome Alley as well as other districts of San Francisco. At Vandal, APEX was tapped to design the mural between the lounge and rickshaw room, where he used blue and white spray paint to illustrate the lyrics to a very well-known ode to New York.
Alexandre Farto, who goes by the name of Vhils, penetrates through countless layers of posters, dirt, and plaster to “set free the poetic images hidden beneath urban spaces” by drilling away old plaster relief forms. Born in Portugal, he was raised during a period that was deeply affected by a revolution, and it was then that he witnessed a vast amount of destruction and the very real effects of the war.
He became well-known after one of his carved portraits was revealed alongside street artist Banksy at the Cans Festival in London in 2008.
His relief portrait is chiseled into plaster and brick walls at Vandal, as they are around the world. He is also known for using etching acid, bleach, pneumatic drills, and other street art tools to reveal a wall’s layers. Vhils has two plaster relief pieces at Vandal — you’ll know them when you see them.
Will Barras is an artist, illustrator, and animation director who lives and works in London, where he first became part of a group of young artists working in Bristol’s renowned street-art district. A founding member of the Scrawl collective, he’s best known for his representations of fluid movement, unique narrative-driven composition, and line work. Barras has traveled extensively, live-painting and exhibiting pieces throughout Europe, the U.S., and Asia. His work at Vandal can be found behind the main back bar wall in the form of a mural depicting hands walking across a globe.
Eelus is a stencil artist who is drawn to mysterious images of science fiction, estates, female forms, and the bizarre. His work has been described as humorous, sinister, beautiful, haunting, a daring mixture of light and dark…needless to say, he is considered a master of the street art scene. His work is instantly recognizable, with its bold, bright and sharp colors. The advantage of creating street art, Eelus said, is how it can prompt discussion of art among those who wouldn’t discuss it otherwise. His work can be seen in the Secret Garden; a large-scale piece that depicts a mysterious winged female figure and other winged black crows watch over the hidden dining room.