Ever considered leaving the all too seductive comforts of a successful business behind to spread your wings in a 21st century, paint soaked equivalent of the Beat Generation? Originally hailing from the state of Tennessee, home to both Nashville and Memphis and sacred soil for blues, country and rock n roll, Justin Vallee and Jeremiah Taylor have done just that. Using creative skills honed both in the wider ether and their respective career choices of hairdressing and landscaping, they fled the confines of daily life and the clutches of materialism to head out across the globe in a creative odyssey of experience where mixed media melt into a medium and the road burns freedom deep into the soul. We caught up with 2square for a word as they ploughed through the miles and sowed the seeds of collaboration, celebration and challenge.
Who are 2Square and what do you do?
2square is 2 passionate best friends that are chasing our dreams. We are both Leo’s and cosmic brothers. We have shared goals and some ideals. We consider ourselves modern day renaissance men. We dabble in a number of arts which increase with exposure to them. Graffiti of course, spray can, stencil work, brush and mixed medium art and street art, poetry, freestyle, music, hair, clothing designers, models, photography, video production, and art installation. We are gypsies traveling and producing art is our job. We get out our skateboards and see cities. Seeing landmarks and doing “touristy things” holds little worth for us. We want to meet the city , the people, the under belly, the street life, the nightlife. There is so much you can learn from people and traveling if you are open to it.
You’re currently circumnavigating the planet, where and when did it begin and what drives your intrepid travels?
Jeremiah – London, Discovery, the discovery of places, people, art, passions.
Justin – We discovered our potential in London about a year and a half ago. The passion and hunger for new sites and new people drives us.
You gave up successful businesses to embark on this journey. Is the road living up to the dream?
Justin: The business was killing me slowly I was making tons of money but it was never enough and I was drowning in my huge work load. Some days are so amazing I could never explain them in words. Many days are… And some weigh you down. The road is our life now there is no safety on the road, no certainty, and no promises. I’ve fallen in love 1000’s of miles away on a different continent and then had to leave. Things like that leave a mark. I can see the puzzle slowly begin to form as we find new pieces. Our lives have greater meaning we have both felt it our whole lives only now we are discovering it. The world will as well with us and if they watch our videos they can learn a great deal about them /us.
Tell us more about your mode of transport…
Justin:Well when we were in Europe 2square had a Ford transport it was like Optimus Prime in a van shape. We could change the inside of that mug with a quickness. Watch our cribs video about the van it will crack you up.. now we have a big F150 truck with bullhorns on the front and a vintage camper from the 60’s we painted all bright and shit. As we travel the outside will change along with our moods and at times we may want to blend in more. The inside is swagged out and getting more so by the day. We just want our place to have good energy so both we and other people can be comfortable.
You’re big into global collectives and the sharing of international resources. How are artists responding to your global call for creating unified workspaces?
Jeremiah: We think its going really well. its not like we are pushing it in any way. we are letting the idea build its own steam. we talk to other artist about the idea and the dream. we romanticize about the possibilities of a collective space and what it would mean to a community. people respond well to it. most people want to be involved in some capacity.
Name some of the cities you’ve visited so far and some of the people you’ve worked with along the way.
Florida….West Palm Beach. David k (hair)..Miami.
Local street crews (graffiti) Miami
Magnus Magnusun (photography) Miami
NYCfunrun (art installations)Miami and NYC
Various models (photography) Miami, Germany, Knoxville, Portugal
Luis RUbim (photography) London, Amsterdam, Germany
Migle Backovaite (photography) London many times
Just to name a few.. Whenever it’s relevant and good work we try and leave other artists work up when we do walls or incorporate it somehow.
I think the further we grow, the more fruit this tree will produce.
Where in the world are you now and what you up to?
We are in Columbus Ohio in a Macdonalds jacking their wifi. We got rained out of a paint mission, we just ended our European tour and we are now on our North American tour. We are starting in the midwest and then who knows?…We have painted so much in Europe, now its time to take it to our own soil. Of course we want to see everything but some of our first stops are really dangerous places but we enjoy going in other hoods without heads high, it’s part of the rush.
I’m sure many artists dream of traveling the globe creating collaborative art and 2Square are doing it. How’s it working out for you so far?
Its living a dream. we are constantly meeting great people. having amazing conversations that shape you. If you are open to people and a experience then you have so much at your fingertips you can learn. Money wise we are close to poor but as far as knowledge and growth from travel we fill very rich.
How organised is your planned route across the world?
Jeremiah – Planned, hahahahahahaha
Justin – About as unorganized as you can imagine. Originally we had intended to have our ducks in a row. I think our method works good if we like a place we hit the brakes and chill. Of course we have ideas of places we want to go or places we’d like to travel to again. Part is timing and part is money.
Where do you hope to be visiting in coming months?
Miami or the West Coast. We were really cold last winter, we stayed in a collective over in mile end. there wasn’t any heat, and we said if we could help it this winter we were going to post up some where warm. It will be nice to dig our feet in some where and get connected.
Tell us about some of the projects you’ve done.
Justin – I think your readers would enjoy our graffiti tour we just did in Europe there were so many amazing moments i can think of. Portugal stands out to me we both started doing our biggest work there and during the day. We painted under a bridge as the sun rose. We did some great work in some buildings and warehouses in Lisboa. We spent a total of 3 weeks in Portugal it is so chill. If you’ve never been I say get your fucking ass over there. There were some scary moments also which can be just a memorable.. The line you walk when doing what we do is so thin and things can change in a moments notice. You have to think about police, people, gangs, the area you are working in and many other things.
What did you get up to when you came to the UK in the summer?
Justin – We have such a passion for London and in the last year we have been there 3 times living there for 3 months during the winter. 2square definitely considers London a home away from home. We have some photographers we work with when we are in town including Migle Backovaite and Luis Rubim who is one of our tour/ graffiti photographers. Luis is brave and has been out in London and Germany when we are putting stuff up in sketchy areas. 2square had our first European exhibition which was really nice we hope t follow it with many more.
We noticed you document your journey using a variety of formats including poetry, should we expect a book or documentary film on your adventures?
Justin – Good question …umm yea all of the above. Of course we have some video footage that we hold back and some that was never release between our webisodes. We produce our own show now. Our number of poems is climbing toward 400 on our site right now so I think we could make a book out of it. Also inside my writing I have a few “regular”series I’ve started.. One is letters to carol and it documents our travels and is a sort of love poetry.. Sounds lame to the male readers I’m sure.. But it is a way for me to open up and let people see a real side to our travels and I can expose myself a little. more. The other is diaries of a madman and it is whatever topic I want. I have ideas for others also.. We have both discussed writing books. There’s so much we could talk about that we never discuss from traveling, to people, women, danger, police,blah blah…
Which part of the process do you enjoy most and what should we expect to see more from you in the future?
Jeremiah – Good question, ummmmm I wish I knew. hopefully good work in whatever I/we do.
Justin – Well the travel part is a treat and meeting so many great people. The whole process can be humbling at times. It’s really hard for me to choose one thing I love all the arts we play around with and there is constantly new inspiration around us. You will see us playing with music more. We have upgraded our technology and can bring more with us around the states. I think our pieces will continue to get bigger and bigger. I know we both want huge buildings and hopefully we can earn it. Right now we have grappling hooks,rope, ladders, and extensions..but I think you will see some repelling from us soon
Anything else you’d like to say to LSD Magazine readers?
Justin – I would like to tell them to check out our site we update it on a regular basis and we’ve put lots of work into it. Watch The video’s from our travels we try to be authentic and show what we capture some are really funny and some are sad. Also check out our poetry it gets updated every week or sooner usually. We are readers and fans of graffiti as well. You can make your dream world a reality. Or I guess I should say you have the ability to change your destiny believe in yourself and run as Fast as you can towards it.
INTERVIEW TAKEN FROM
LSD MAGAZINE ISSUE EIGHT – WALLS OF PERCEPTION
November 23rd 2011