The Fandangoe Kid

THE SOAK UP #1 - Venus & the Cat x The Fandangoe Kid

Read The Fandangoe Kid's Bio here

VATC: So how did this all begin?

FK: In many ways it's been the only thing I've ever wanted to do. I would lose myself in this world entirely as a small little person and I guess it's carried on that way. It took me a while to get to art school and both my parents really tried to dissuade me from it. But I eventually got there and there's been no looking back since then.

VATC: What did your art teacher think of you?
FK: I think she thought I was stubborn!

VATC: From typography, print making and graphic design, who were the artists that inspired your love of art?
FK: My all-time favourites are Jenny Holzer, Sophie Calle and Barbara Kruger. I'm also a huge fan of Sottsass.

VATC: For someone discovering you for the first time now, how would you describe yourself and your work?
FK: I would say it's about smashing taboos, using my practice as means of opening up dialogue about the unspoken. The things we need to be talking about and facing, particularly now.

VATC: Do you define your art, or does your art define you?
FK: I would say this is constantly in a state of flux. It's actually one of the most tender and frustrating relationships I continue to try and maintain!

VATC: What cultural references are inseparable from your work?
FK: For me, my story and my processes to emerge from that are inextricably linked to my work. Experiencing the loss of almost my entire family in 2011 was a total meltdown reset button. A whole new life began after that and sometimes I'm still not sure how I came out of the trauma. So, these events fold themselves into my reason for living, my remit as a practitioner.

VATC: Has there been a time you’ve felt like giving up?
FK: Most definitely. When I lost my family there were some very dark years of burrowing. Making art but only for my own healing. Not for the world.

Venus & the Cat x Fandangoe Kid - The Soak Up #1


VATC: What kept you going?
FK: Probably knowing that I'd been deeply loved by the family I had lost and in there somewhere finding some hope that there must be some reasons for my living, when I so nearly could have been involved in the accident that killed most of my family.

VATC: Who do you like to make proud with your work?
FK: It's always, always my family, both living and dead. And friends that are by now my family.

VATC: When you’re sat staring at a blank canvass, what's the first thing you do?
FK: I usually go to paper with a thought I want to get down with some kind of urgency as this staring blankly business really frightens me! But if I'm stuck, I tend not to look at something for days and just walk around and look at other things, talk to people, read, and see new parts of the city until something starts to come out of me.

VATC: When you create a piece of work, what do you hope the viewer will do with it?
FK: I think once you put a piece of work out into the public realm, you no longer own it or have control over how it may be seen or absorbed. I only hope that my work might be healing on various levels to people who have experienced grief, loss or challenging times and have nowhere to put their excess feelings of love, like I once felt.

VATC: What kind of feedback have you had from people on the potency and impact of your visual storytelling?
FK: Yes, my work on grief, loss and trauma release has led people to pretty much email me or message me most days to share their stories. I find them incredibly heart-warming and amazing. We are bound by so much more than that which keeps us apart.

VATC: How important has artistic therapy been for you during lockdown?
FK: My work has really always been essential to me as part of my own healing and grief processes and these lockdowns have kind of forced me to remember the survival skills I learnt during those days and tap back into that kind of long-haul resilience again. That said, I feel very lucky to have had a safe place to live and work in this time.

VATC: Can being an artist be lonely?
FK: Yeah it really, really can be! It's difficult to get the right balance. I can spend hours and hours alone working and I actually do need to push myself to step out of that space! Being in a relationship from lockdown 2 onwards has really changed things on that note for the better!

VATC: Is there any element to your work that you feel people sometimes miss?
FK: I'm not sure. Probably for some people my work on trauma and grief or my approach towards some still very taboo subject matters that have shaped my life are possibly abstract to others.

Venus & the Cat x Fandangoe Kid - The Soak Up #1


VATC: Your work over the past decade has had a very powerful motivation - how will we see it evolve over the next ten years?
FK: I would like to continue working in the public realm where I can, and as much as I can. I would also like to use my practice to work further in communities as we emerge from the pandemic and start to process our grief.

VATC: Is there a burning artistic ambition that you’ve yet to fulfil?
FK: I would really like to design bespoke coffins and a funeral parlour. This may sound really macabre but actually it's the opposite. I see it as another way to make death a part of life and part of an ongoing daily dialogue that we should be having as opposed to keeping a classic British stiff upper lip over something that actually universally binds us all.

VATC: Where in the world would be your dream mural space?
FK: I would really love to do something large scale and fun in Coney Island. And Blackpool (which I often think of as the UK's Coney, plus my dad was from there so there's a real sentimental feeling about the place!).

VATC: Is the role of street art in society changing?
FK: I feel like there are more and more artists coming from different creative backgrounds who are approaching the public realm in fresh new ways. It's no longer just a male dominated field and that's really great.

VATC: So which young or under-the-radar artists should we be aware of?
FK: My dear friend Coco Lom, who is making incredible bold work: @_cocolom_ //
And @saucysez who makes amazing work about class and dismantling patriarchy

VATC: What artistic advice would you go back and give to an 18-year-old you?
FK: Just follow your gut. Not what is rational, but your deep gut feelings.

VATC: What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
FK: Probably that. Follow your gut, hold your nerve.

VATC: If you had the world’s attention for 30 seconds, what would you say?
FK: We need to start talking about the things that matter. Fuck small talk. And can our politicians please stop gaslighting the world and get some integrity in their bones or resign.

VATC: Describe your mind in one word!
FK: busy!

Shop the Venus & the Cat collaboration with The Fandangoe Kid here

Check out The Fandangoe Kid playlist on Spotify here

Check out The Fandangoe Kid on Insta here


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