Shaun Oakley


SHAUN OAKLEY … Interviewed by Deshni


ONE ON ONE WITH DAMN VANDAL – ” Every time you think of quitting, just know that you were a day away from realising your dream.”

What do you say when people ask you, ‘what do you do?’
“What do you do?” is a question I get asked a lot. I’m a graphic designer by trade, a graffiti artist from birth and an overachiever by choice =) Just came up with that now haha, but its true.

so8What was the inspiration behind the name “Damn Vandal”?
I’ve got a 14 year background in graffiti and illustration and I used to do a lot of stickers and tagging and my wife used to always tune me you “Dayum Vandal” and that’s pretty much when I decided to use it as a business name, bit of irony there.


Tell us something about your training and your influences.
Studied art at school, got a BA Degree in Visual Communications and just basic self-taught experience. I have never ending influence, follow a variety of sites and artists, always trying new techniques and different styles. Don’t like to limit myself to one thing but my main style would be of a vector based.

so21What art piece would you say was your “breakout” piece?
My “breakout” piece would definitely be the Golf 6 I did for “Wicked Dips”. It was my first time painting a car and dealing with Shivani, put a lot of effort into it and it worked out really well. Definitely paid off.


What are your thoughts about the current graffiti scene in Durban?
The graffiti scene in Durban is blowing up. Originally it was about tagging and getting up, I think a lot of the artists that are still painting today have matured and want to grow as artists. There is so much going on and the graffiti artists want to be recognised for the rad work that they are doing and get our scene to the level it should be. Get appreciated by the public and I’m one of them.

Being an automotive publication, tell us how you started on your unique vehicle wraps?
It started when Wicked Dips approached me to do their first car. I think everyone was a bit scared at first, including me, it was something fresh and new! We learned from our mistakes and are finally working as a team to get the best outcomes we could possibly achieve. Shit is getting real.

Which vehicle has been your favourite to design and why?
The Lamborghini was EPIC! Four days of 12 hour sessions to finish it in time for the show but I would still say my favourite was my first G6. Overall result and look has stuck with me.

What are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a Lamborghini and an Audi TT for Vossen, an awesome collaboration with Wicked Dips. As well as some new murals that are upcoming in November… fun fun.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
My favourite aspect of my job is that I generally do what I want. My versions, my designs and my ideas. I also get to meet so many people with their own ideas and love making it happen. It’s always dope to see your art in and around South Africa, keep me inspired as well as other artists.

When you’re not Damn Vandal, what would we find Shaun doing?
I would say doing illustration work, I always keep myself busy, staying creative and getting shit done. If I’m not painting or illustrating, I’m usually spending time with my wife. Have to have that balance!

What’s the coolest art tip you’ve ever received?
It would probably be to do perfect circles using spray paint. Won’t give you too many details, gotta keep that one for myself haha.

so9Do you prefer working alone or collaborating with others?
Generally I work alone, not because I want to claim the fame, but more of the fact that I’m super fussy. I’m a perfectionist and like things the way I do them, but now and then, a bit of collab work is just what I need.


Are there any particular artists whose design style has inspired or influenced you?
There are a lot of international artists that are killing it worldwide, I guess I don’t have a favourite but more a group that keeps me inspired and wanting to do better!

If you could teach or tell the new generation of artists, what would it be?
I would tell other upcoming artists to never stop practicing, drawing, illustrating, whatever you do. Always keep busy, always keep reference. Actually saw an awesome saying today on FB. ” Every time you think of quitting, just know that you were a day away from realising your dream.” For real.

We got to ask… what is your dream car?
To be honest, my dream car is a LS7 1967 Camaro SS in matte black.

How can our readers follow your work?
Follow my work on
or twitter: @iheartalies

Finally any shout outs or special thanks?
I’d like to S/O to Gas Magazine for the feature, my wife, Wicked Dips for all the work, Warrick Shannon – my photographer and to all the peeps that dig my stuff!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: