Nils Westergard is the artist behind many of Richmond’s favorite murals. His work is prominently featured on our RVA Street Art Run courses, as well as in the participant t-shirt design (Covered Eyes Figure). We caught up with Nils to ask him about what goes on behind the scenes of creating a mural. Check out more of Nil’s work!
Q: When did you first get start in art, specifically in murals?
A: I started painting in middle school, and was painting walls pretty quickly. I worked on a stage and also did stage sets at the time, which I now realize were murals as well.
Q: What was the first piece of street art you did in Richmond?
A: The first sanctioned piece I did in Richmond was the side of Stuffy’s subs on Harrison. It is no longer there.
Q: What’s the hardest part of creating a piece of street art?
A: Everything except painting, especially when other people get involved.
Q: What’s your personal favorite piece of work you’ve done? Any other favorites by other artists around town?
A: I have a thousand favorites by others. I will always be partial to ROA’s piece on what was Bellytimber, also the Aryz still-life downtown. Smithe’s fading piece in Carytown does not get the attention it deserves. As far as my own work, I do not really think of it in those terms…I would choose my piece at Lombardy/Floyd.
Q: What is your creative process like when you’re about to start a mural?
A: A lot less interesting than you would think. I have a birdshot where I just constantly talk to people about getting walls done. If I start 50 conversations I am lucky if one goes through. By that point I just move.
Q: Why do you think RVA is a great city for street art?
A: People are slowly becoming more open to it, by the sheer force of will extended by my peers. That being said we have a long way to go so we cannot yet pat ourselves on the back; I will wait until the city government actually supports us; as up until now I have clawed my way to every completed piece.
Q: Where’s your dream mural location in RVA?
A: The Southern States silos.