Belfast Telegraph

Q&A: Belfast street-artist Visual Waste talks hosting his first exhibit

Belfast street-artist Dean Kane - aka Visual Waste - is set to host his first ever art exhibit this month.

His murals around the city are well known but this will be the first time Dean has shown his work in a fine art setting.

The 'Whiskey and Muses’ exhibition is a collaboration with Bushmills' #AnswerTheCall series and will be on display at The Gallery in Belfast from August 25 - 31.

The event will be launched on August 24 where Dean will create a live paint demonstration and share an insight into his career to date.

Q. What motivated you to pursue street-art as a career?

Art, and street-art particularly, is something I've always been passionate about. Street art to me is the purest form of art - there's no filters, no limitations so the possibilities are endless when it comes to imagination and a can of paint. 

I was working as a graphic designer for a corporate company and had a great salary. This might sound like the dream job but I was restless and struggling to connect the dots. Hours in the office, working under someone else’s thumb had become as fulfilling as watching paint dry.

I wanted to explore new artistic avenues and break through Belfast’s urban art boundaries, I just knew I could put Northern Ireland’s street art scene on the map, but with no clients and no business plan, leaving the security of a full-time job was a big risk.

I suppose the arrival of my daughter was the push I needed. It was days after I wrote my resignation on a scrawled-up napkin and went my own way setting up my business on my last pay cheque. Making the change to a freelance creative was the best thing I've ever done as it's allowed me to heighten my passion for street art to another level and progress as an artist.

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Visual Waste will host his first art exhibit this month.

Q. What has been your career highlight to date and has it been easy getting to where you are now?

My upcoming exhibit, ‘Whiskey and Muses’ sees me elevate from street-artist to artist and is something I have always wanted to do. Pushing boundaries personally and for the NI art scene is important to me and this exhibit reflects that.

The last four years, getting to where I am now has been hard from time to time and it still is sometimes. Leaving my job to establish a commercial art business was a huge risk – there were sleepless nights and stresses and strains. But it’s been worth it and I’m incredibly proud of the legacy I have established for both art in the city and myself. Nothing worth having is easy but pursuing your passion and using your talents, under your own rules, is incredibly fulfilling.

Q. Tell us a bit about your personal style and what makes a Visual Waste piece stand out.

My style is very distinctive as I work a lot with stencils and this allows me to capture intricate details in the pieces. I like to use colour as much as I can and I always remain in the contemporary realm. It could be said I specialise in pop culture, reacting to the news agenda and responding to items in the cultural arena.

I’ll typically always share a new piece on social media as my fans seem to get a real kick when I do. Time-lapse videos are a nice way for me to document my work and show people the skill involved in a piece.

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Visual Waste will host his first art exhibit this month.

Q. How do you feel about the street-art scene in Belfast?

I think the scene here is fantastic and it's finally starting to get the attention it needs. There are new pieces popping up nearly every week now and people are engaged.

Belfast has always been famous for its walls but now they say something completely different which is brilliant for someone like me. Belfast is evolving and street art is communicating with a host of different audiences rather than remaining in the political sphere.

As one of NI’s only commercial street-artists, it’s great to see that brands now want to help push wall art and support artists and the scene in the city.

Q. What skills do you need to do what you do?

Talent is one thing but you must have unrelenting passion for anything you’re doing, borderline obsession might be more appropriate. Only then does the magic happen!

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Visual Waste

Q. What can we expect from your latest exhibition?

It will see me showcase my art in a whole new way. I’m making the bold move from urban murals to fine art style portraits of artists who have inspired me and local people who have also forged their own path.

Not only is this an opportunity for me to share my talents in a new way, it’s also an opportunity to meet with up and coming artists and share my story with them to inspire them to answer their own individual calling too.

We launch the exhibit soon so the countdown to the big reveal has started. I’m more excited than nervous, I hope people understand this new representation of my talent.

Q. What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of changing their path in life?

I would say if it's something your obsessed with then that's always a good starting point. If your passion is calling you in your sleep, it’s time to follow it.

  • To register to attend the launch of Whiskey and Muses at The Gallery on August 24 visit the events section of answerthecall.co.uk.

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