Two best friends that gave up all their material possessions to live a true gypsy life on the road. Justin Vallee and Jeremiah Taylor make up artist duo. They have been globe trotting, on tour for 2 years, painting murals, experiencing new cities. Living full time in a small camper (Shasta) made in the 60s, and a van in Europe, without running water. In November of 2011, they went to Wynwood, Miami for Art Basel to paint. After Basel, they stayed, and have been painting murals in Miami ever since.
Street Art United States (SAUS) had a chance to catch up with the two for a very honest and revealing interview.
Who are you?
(Justin Vallee) a passionate man. I Live outside the box all while staying in it. Meaning the artist is always the artist. I approach life as an art and therefore mingle with many of her forms. I love running my fingers across letters as much as I love painting with them.
(Jeremiah Taylor) Hustler, poet, lover, philosopher, not a great speller, connected, 2square, skater, painter, a day dreamer, a driven motha sucka.
When/how you did you guys meet?
(Justin) We met in our mid 20’s we both made a lot of money at the time and we knew how to spend it quickly.
(Jeremiah) we met about 7 or so years ago. We had a mutual friend, that introduced us. We really didn’t vibe at first, but the more we hung out, it all started to click. Until our click was called 2square
When did you start doing art?
(Justin) I had always been in art classes and excelled at them in school. During my 20s I began experimenting more with spray paint and acrylics. I started to have exhibitions working on mannequins, abstract, canvas, and tape paintings. The last few years my fantasy world became my subjects. I also played with stencils and t-shirt designs. I did it all blindly with no education and no real influence from the art world at the time.
(Jeremiah) I feel like I’ve been dabbling in various art forms throughout my life. I’ve always been writing, drawing, scribbling, taking photographs building things, skating, cutting hair. I was an art director for my last job. That was before i gave it up to become 2square, where I now put all my whole focus on putting my works on the street.
What school/training did you get?
(Justin) No formal training, no Mr. Meagee’s, or Sinsa’s.
(Jeremiah) I don’t have any training from an art school. I grew up in a very small town in Tennessee. It’s safe to say they didn’t focus on the arts so much. A few years later, after I graduated high school, l went to hair school and became a hair stylist It was there where I learned how to be disciplined and articulate in expressing details of my final objective and how to create and manifest in real life the vision that you had thought of. That knowledge that I received, has given me the technical thinking to unlock an artistic paradigm.
Who or what influences you?
(Jeremiah) My neighborhood, nature, the city, faces that I see, friends, family, travel, God. Everything really. Whatever you’re around affects you in some manner, the good the bad the ugly. It all goes somewhere internal whether we are conscious of it, or not. I try to expose the truth of those things in a beautiful way…
(Justin) Wow I have many influences now, the world, my life, what I see, the city I’m in, my circle of friends, the struggle, my desires, and women to name a few. I’m a lover so women move me, my words, my brush, my pen, my can, or whatever else is in my hand.
Do you do mixed media or only street art?
(Justin) I will paint whatever I can get my hands on. It varies from canvas to clothing. We have over 400 very expressive poems on our site follow2square.com. I’m working in 2 sketch pads currently, right hand and my left hand. I’m right handed but have been training my left hand the series is called Lefty or Lefty2 he does murals as well. Bringing his technique better is something I’ve been focusing on. The dude is fucking crazy and I never know what is going to come out of him. When we were overseas, buying canvas is never an option so we would paint on cardboard and recycled materials, sheets of wood, basically whatever we could get our hands on. We both model and have been fortunate in our travels to work with some world renowned photographers and I think that our portfolio rivals most women you know that call themselves “models” but really just get naked pictures taken by some dude on the train tracks (facebook/2square modeling portfolio). Our web series can also be found on our website follow2square.com as well as blip tv. Our series has been directed by a few different people including us. Right now NoPlanB is shooting and Dreams the brains behind it is capturing us in a new light. He started out shooting music videos and now he does our series and random documentaries as well. On our show you see our struggle first hand, our friends and fans can watch our struggle. We allow you in to see our reality sometimes its sweet sometime its bitter to watch. We live in a modern fishbowl people eventually witness our success or failure. I like to focus on success. We do designs or paint on; shoes, skateboards, and clothing. I have used brushes, cans, stencils, graffiti pens, and wheat paste in my street art. If you friend request me on Facebook you can watch melody work as I complete it, sketchbook, Lefty pads, and street art (Justin Vallee).
(Jeremiah) There are many other arts and art forms I practice and study. I really like fashion. I like making clothes. The last fashion show we did, I made 3 dresses. I really like wearable art. It can be a loud statement. I love to photograph people, create the set, and also work the beauty side of the shoot as well. I experiment with music. I’ve produced our video series while we were on tour. I’ve built furniture. I do quit a bit of things. I think if you’re a creative person your eyes and mind see and comprehend creatively. When you’re that person, everything is a creative project.
Everything becomes art.
Do you incorporate your art with fashion in your real lives?
(Justin) Jeremiah and I are crazy in our fashion sense. People have told me before that I’m a showman and I definitely think that’s true. I love performing I can paint a wall at a fast speed in front of a crowd dressed crazy as fuck. It turns me up and on I feed off energy and crowds. We go to the thrift stores and shop in all the aisles, men’s, women’s, kids, granny’s. Whatever! If it makes people laugh I go for it 2. I have a tendency to cut my clothes up. Living in Miami you can get away with wearing next to nothing. One of our ultimate goals as 2square is to bring some different clothing lines out and tailor them to very specific crowds.
(Jeremiah) For me there isn’t a separation in who you are, or what you do. Fashion wise like any art it’s all about expression. And It’s fun to be expressive.
The following questions are just my curiosity since I am new to this: how do you get commissioned to do work?
(Justin) For a long time we painted portfolio work and directed our attention at becoming better. I think now it’s finally coming around and we are starting to get paid little by little. We’ve been in Miami for a year and a few months painting relentlessly the whole time. At first no one took notice. Most people come here for Art Basel in December to paint, they stay for 5 days then leave. In 2011 we came for Art Basel and then began to work odd jobs in the entertainment industry for extra money. There was a point when we had been here for so long we had to decide whether to stay and keep working towards Art Basel or leave. We decided to stay. Here we are still, working hard in and out of the paint with the goal of flying overseas to do another street art tour. Wynwood is a world of its own one day It will be famous and everyone will know about it. Right now the soil is still somewhat raw. If you are dedicated to your craft now is a time. You can be a pioneer. We have painted buildings during our stay so many that when the next Art Basel rolled around the streets began to talk. People were like, “Why the fuck does 2square have so many fucking walls? Meanwhile we spent most of, if not all of our money painting them in the “off season” , when the only thing on the streets with us were the crackheads and fucking tumbleweeds. As a result a team of international bombers hit one of our buildings the night before the busiest day of Art Basel. One of those murals alone took Jeremiah a month and half to paint. Backed in a corner we had to make a choice, Leave the murals alone and fix them after Basel or do something about it during. This was a low point for us we had worked hard and personally sacrificed a great deal in order to paint these murals. Jeremiah and I put our heads together and came up with the stop motion idea. The inspiration came from Blu a street artist we both look up to. So with the help of NoPlanB we filmed a stop motion feature in front of the crowds during Art Basel. The 5 days following I corrected all the murals both mine and Jeremiah’s. I even did one with my left hand the Frankenstein remix by Lefty. Ultimately we got 9 new pictures for our portfolio and elevated ourselves as street artists by trying something new that we had both been itching to do from the very beginning of 2square. The Basel videos are the next in our web series to be released the people still have no idea about what we’ve done.
(Jeremiah) You build a portfolio of your work. Then you market your work. Hopefully people dig it, and want you to paint their big beautiful building(s). With the way social media is today. The masses can see your work, with just a click.