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- by ThatDamnVandal

Art is everywhere, you just have to open your eyes...

We managed to ask Shaun some questions based on himself and the work he's created.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Shaun Oakley, AKA Damn Vandal. I am a graffiti artist, illustrator and graphic designer. I have a BA degree in Visual Communications and based in Durban. I am sponsored by Posca Markers and ambassador for Reebok South Africa. 

At what age did you realise design was your passion?

My dad was an artist so was exposed to art from a young age but I reckon I was around 8 years old when I really started drawing and appreciating the process of colour and layering tones. 


"Don’t sell yourself short. You’re worth more than you know. " - ThatDamnVandal


What does the future hold for ThatDamnVandal?

I only went full time freelance last year July but ran my business for 4 years whilst at my full time job at the time. This last year has been crazy, went to AfroPunk Festival in Paris on an all Paid trip with Hyundai, painted 4 cars, illustrated for so many amazing brands!! Not sure how it could get better. But I just take it in my stride. Whatever comes my way, I take it with a deep breath and new vision. 

What qualities and skills should a great graphic designer have?

I work with the motto, “Success and Nothing Less.” It pushes me to always push harder then everyone else. To get through the sleepless nights, the sacrifices that I give on a day to day basis. Qualities that I think every designer should work with is humility, dedication to always do their best work for themselves and clients no matter how big or well known. To illustrate for their passion and not for the money. And to remember, there is always someone doing more than you, don’t feel pressured to always work. Work in your own time and meet the deadlines set. 


"Success and Nothing Less." - ThatDamnVandal


How do you handle criticism?

I don’t. Haha! It’s taken me a long time to work through it. 3 Steps: 1. Swear, rage, tell somebody that the clients a cake. Step 2. Look at their comments, if the changes are crazy, charge them more, often the client then stays with the option and adjusts slightly. Step3. Happy Client, Happy You. 

What are you currently fascinated by and how is it feeding into your work?

I’ve been working on trying to mix my illustration style into my graffiti so basically trying to replicate my vector illustrations onto a wall. It’s a challenge but every wall I push myself a little more. 

Tell us about a project that was your greatest achievement?

I often get asked this question and I don’t think I just have one. I’ve been so blessed to be apart of projects that are world class and some that have never been done before so in terms of graffiti, I would say painting a Lamborghini was definitely a highlight in my career. In terms of illustration, I recently did a colab with Reebok where customer could customize sneakers in store using VR and they used me as the lead in the project as well as designed every element that was used to customize each shoe. And then I had to hand customize a Reebok sneaker to look like the winners design. Was a crazy project to be apart of. 

What’s the best piece of advice you have heard and repeat to others?

Don’t sell yourself short. You’re worth more than you know. 

Anything exciting for you in the near future that we should know about?

For any updates keep an eye on my Instagram @ThatDamnVandal .


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