If you are walking in Soho, London for no more than a few blocks, chances are you’ve stumbled across Navinder Nangla’s work. Throughout 2022, the Northamptonshire native has travelled across the country, leaving behind a trail of graffiti tags depicting tongue-in-cheek take on fashion label ‘Balance-iaga’, artists ‘Van Goth’ and ‘Basket@’, and taglines ‘Fashion Weak’ and ‘Fassion Is My Pashion’.
Following on from his studies at Manchester Metropolitan University, the 27-year-old’s instantly recognisable works have been praised by Diet Paratha, Dazed and Converse, who partnered with the artist on their ‘Create Next’ campaign, including a London bus sporting his work and a larger-than-life portrait.
On Instagram, the work gained steady attention, quickly becoming an essential shot in fashion month Instagram dumps. And now, the fashion industry across the globe is taking note of Nangla’s unapologetic artworks. The artist spent his summer Seoul engaging with new communities of emerging artists, and in September he could be found at Paris Fashion Week rubbing shoulders with Michele Lamy and Givenchy’s Matthew Williams. Most recently, Nangla has lent his distinctive lens to slowthai and Anne-Marie, styling their respective 2021 and 2022 tours, and has teased a collaboration with footwear legend George Cox. With fans already in John Boyega, Maya Jama and Charles Jeffrey, there’s no limit to what this rising star can achieve.
Below, we hear from Nangla as he shares his early inspiration, his dream collaboration and his advice for future disruptors.
How did you first get into your practice?
I was born to leave my mark and destroy things – destruction is a form of creation.
If you could describe your work in three words, what would they be?
Chaos, Beauty, Horror.
How do you define success as an artist/creator?
Once I’ve shaken the art world.
What is the purpose or goal of your work?
For people to have fun with it and not be too serious. This world is already dark, let’s just have good energy and have fun with it.
Do you have a collective or a community that supports you?
The streets fuck with me! They make noise for the corporate system to hear.
Who have been your biggest influences?
Hella heads but on top of the dome, Vivienne Westwood with her ‘don’t give a fuck’ punk spirit! Francis Bacon, how he mixes horror and beauty just like how Alexander McQueen does to create this new balance of art. Jun Takahashi, the Japanese designer of the brand undercover. Then, of course, you got people like Basquiat and the GOAT of this art shit, Andy Warhol, who left the blueprint for me. I want a “factory” like Warhol had so we can have a hub with like-minded cool creatives.
What would be your dream project?
Probably doing a sustainable project with the GOAT David Attenborough, that would gas me.
How do you find new opportunities?
Do you, live and breath your pashion 24/7. You gotta eat, sleep, live it to become it.
What’s the best advice you can give as a freelancer?
Just keep going. Every day at skool day, like Skepta said in a bar on the song ‘Bullet From A Gun’, “all you gotta do is put in the work / that’s all you need to buss”.
If you could change one thing about the creative industry, what would it be?
F*** THE GATEKEEPERS!
What’s been your greatest accomplishment so far and why?
Probably speaking at the Tate Modern which was hosted by Diet Paratha about my art as me being dicklegssick (dyslexic) this gave me confidence to now speak in any situation in front of an audience
What advice would you give to someone hoping to follow in your footsteps?
Do what you want. Never change for no one – do you, live and breath your pashion 24/7. You gotta eat, sleep, live it to become it.
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