For our NYFW Kickoff Dinner hosted by Paloma Elsesser to celebrate her new Vans “Classic Since Forever” campaign, we decided to invite Spanish artist Alehsy to customize a variety of classic Vans sneakers for our guests. The mysterious artist – he rarely shows his face to the public or creates commercial work – has traded his vacation in Malaga for some time on the gritty streets of Manhattan. It was only his second trip to New York, we called him to discuss finding inspiration in the Fast and Furious movies, the right time to go out on the streets and its rules for Instagram.
INTERVIEW: Where are you calling from today?
ALEHSY LAMBO: I’m in New York. I came here when Interview contacted me for the event, to paint Vans for dinner at Raoul’s. Also for the holidays and Fashion Week a lot is happening.
INTERVIEW: When was the last time you went to New York?
LAMBO: I was here before Covid in 2019. It was actually my first time. I come from Barcelona.
INTERVIEW: So what do you like about New York so far?
LAMBO: The city is the people. I really like the atmosphere of the people here. The sunshine, especially, is very intense here in New York and in the United States. It shines so much. It’s my favorite thing, the sun.
INTERVIEW: Did you always know you were going to be an artist?
LAMBO: Not really. It just came organically. When I was a kid, I was so inspired by the underground scene that I started painting graffiti at 14. When I was 20, I started tattooing. Then it became popular to work on canvases, then collaborations, it all came so naturally. I did not claim to be an artist. I don’t even call myself one anymore.
INTERVIEW: How many tattoos do you have?
LAMBO: Me? A lot [Laughs]. I never counted.
INTERVIEW: Can you tell me why you fell in love with graffiti and tattoos?
LAMBO: I don’t know if I fell in love with graffiti. I just did it because it was cool to write my name on the walls and stuff. I love him and I hate him. I don’t identify as a graffiti artist. I’m an artist, I do graffiti, I do tattoos and I have so much fun in the streets. Graffiti is just a way to blow your mind and forget certain things.
INTERVIEW: What do you practice the most now?
LAMBO: I don’t tattoo at the moment, I paint more on canvas, I do sculptures, I work on collaborations. I forgot about the tattoo for a while this year. I was more focused on the canvas and the galleries.
INTERVIEW: Where do you find the inspiration for the canvas you create?
LAMBO: In the street and on the internet. Sometimes I find inspiration in movies, because I like to find iconic scenes. I like to manipulate them and integrate them into my personal work. I am also a photographer, so I like to take pictures of what inspires me. I like movies with cars like Fast and Furious.
INTERVIEW: I see the references all over your Instagram.
LAMBO: Yeah, it’s one of the first movies I saw as a kid, and it really boosted my career. The style that everyone wore, the mood of the characters and the cars. Everything was an atmosphere.
INTERVIEW: Did you have a favorite artist growing up?
LAMBO: Not really. I have these idols that I really like. My last idol was [Salvador] Dali. I love this guy so much. Picasso too. I was born in Seville, in the south of Spain. The first artist that crossed my mind was Picasso because he was from Malaga, and he is a world star. But I love Dali, his character. His way of approaching art. I don’t consider myself an artist just because of my paintings. You can be an artist and have no idea how to paint. You can be an artist and laugh at yourself.
INTERVIEW: What are you obsessed with right now?
INTERVIEW: Any color in particular?
LAMBO: Primary colors. And with food.
INTERVIEW: So, fries or no fries?
LAMBO: Always fries. Fries, please. Double ration.
INTERVIEW: A sauce?
LAMBO: Mayo or truffle mayo.
INTERVIEW: Who do you like to follow on Instagram?
LAMBO: Oh, that’s a good question, because I don’t like to follow anyone on Instagram. I hate to push that button, man, but I have to. I like to follow funny content from my friends exclusively. No media, no bullshit, no stress. Just love. And no reference. I don’t like following artists.
INTERVIEW: So what’s next for you?
LAMBO: Who knows? I don’t like knowing what’s next. I didn’t even know I would be here a week ago. I was on vacation when Interview Call me. I think that’s how I like to make my life.
INTERVIEW: So you said you got a lot of inspiration from the streets. I wonder when is the best time to go out on the street?
LAMBO: past midnight. You see shit you’ve never seen before.