Q&A with Nils Westergard

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.