With Drop 2 of the Vans Vault x Fergadelic collaboration landing last weekend, we got the chance to catch up with the man behind it all - Fergus Purcell - and ask him about his influences, current setup, and of course, Vans.
Hey Fergus, thanks very much for taking the time to speak with us!
Q: Let’s start with the basics if you don’t mind, who are you and what do you do?
A: My name is Fergus, A.K.A. Fergadelic & I am a commercial artist.
Q: Given the current situation, we’ve had to change, adapt, and establish new routines, but we imagine you're able to be quite flexible with your setup. What does your day-to-day consist of? How are you managing to stay motivated and inspired?
A: I’m fortunate: I’m well used to working out of a laptop…from wherever. Sometimes somewhere as ordinary as from at home, but quite often from far flung places abroad. I’m home now, but that suits me fine. My day to day is the same…but always different because I’m constantly working on new projects. I’m listening to music lots, which is one of the pleasures of working in the visual field…that you can soundtrack your work. I’m listening to loads of synth instrumental music, whether that’s analogue pioneers like Laurie Spiegel, Kraut stalwarts like Tangerine Dream or all sorts of New Age stuff. I find it very inspiring…& it all sounds very fresh & very futuristic to me, even though most of it is over 30 years old. As for motivation, with my work at Palace I have an incredible privilege; we’ve built up a loyal audience who expect the unexpected & you couldn’t ask for a better motivation than that.
Q: What is your earliest memory of Vans? Can you remember your first pair?
A: I was 15 & went on a 2 week outdoors & survival oriented course. There were all sorts of kids there, from all sorts of different places & backgrounds. One of the more sophisticated ones had a pair of Vans on…it just made a really big impression on me. He was cool & so that association remains…but I would have come across & fallen for Vans sooner or later - their design is just so great & comes in such variety. In a way, in their hands, the shoe became a format of expression in just the same way that a T-shirt works, or a fanzine, or a cassette tape. Vans is it’s own format, like A4 paper.
Q: Can you tell us a little about what influenced you towards Vans - was it skateboarding, music, BMX or film? Or a bit of a combination?
A: Maybe the above: the fact that a shoe could be a surface onto which other things were happening. But yeah, fair enough, all those things you just said feed in there too. As much as I was amazed by Air Jordans when they first appeared I was never really a trainer kind of person…I don’t really know why. There’s something about the casualness of canvas sneakers that appeals to me. I’ve refused to attend - or been turned away - at various posh functions because my Vans were deemed unacceptable - Philistines!
My first pair were navy suede Chukkas, circa 1990.
Q: For those that remember you have already worked on a Vans collaboration with the brand Silas from some years back. Are there any other projects that you have worked on prior to this one that you could share?
A: I worked on Ashley William’s Vans, they had an all over print that was inspired by small ads from the back of fanzines. That was lots of fun to do. & also, a while ago now, I worked with Jun Takahashi (alongside PAM & Hysteric Glamour) on a project called Zamiang. The graphics I did ended up on a pair of Undercover Vans & I was very happy about that!
Q: What’s your favourite Vans model?
A: Authentic. All day long. 365 days a year. Just wear thicker socks in winter (you can Scotchguard them too, if you want, for a kind of waterproofed breathable vibe!)
Q: Is there a style you would like to see back in the Vans range? Something that you remember or a colourway or print that evokes some special memories?
A: I think Vans are really good at bringing stuff back already…the contemporary Customs programme is really fun for example, a clever way of updating what they used to do, where you could send them your own fabric (I know, imagine?!). I’d say, instead, that I look forward to seeing new & unexpected things…I’m not really one for nostalgia.
Q: We’re really into this collaboration between Vans and yourself, it’s great. The puppet for the assets was a really nice touch also. What was the inspiration behind the project?
A: Thanks! I love the puppet too & even my wife & my sister say that it’s exactly like me. Ha ha.
The inspiration for this style was a combination of 2 things. I really coveted a pair of black acid wash Vans when I first saw them…would have been an ad in the back of Thrasher…but I never had a pair - plus the words ‘Acid Wash’ sound so good, don’t they? Kind of gnarly, but also like Acid House. Then the other & completely unrelated inspiration, was scratch cards, the lottery kind. I love the symbols on those. It was a surrealistic gesture, you could say, to combine the two things..an abstract & unexpected combination. But also what was in my mind was to link this second Vans style to the previous one, the ‘Corner Shop’ design.
Q: Last one, what does the future hold for Fergus Purcell?
A: Creativity, Family, Travel, Music.
Thanks for taking the time to talk to us Ferg!
The Vans Vault UA OG Authentic LX & UA OG Chukka LX x Fergus Purcell 'Acid Wash' are available to buy now through the button below!