Brazilian-born Toronto artist Diogo Snow, aka D-Snow, has an imagination as vivid as his colorful graffiti canvases. This month at Art Basel in Miami, the Brazilian-Canadian mounted an art installation that seemed almost guaranteed to go viral – an exaggerated live art exhibit that saw him paint a Lamborghini Super Trofeo as she was suspended vertically in the air. If it looks crazy painting a half a million dollar car while it hangs above the ground, that’s not even the craziest part. Once that was done, he decided to sell the 3D model as a unique NFT.
D-Snow has made a name for himself as one of the world’s most in-demand street artists, having produced custom pieces for celebrities such as Drake, Fetty Wap and Bad Bunny. But he’s also at the forefront of the NFT and crypto market, and has actually created a whole new global market, called New World Inc, for 3D NFTs made for augmented reality. With a roster of over a hundred artists on board for launch this month, the platform is sure to create a sensation on the internet.
Ahead of his big stunt at Art Basel, we met D-Snow by video call on the streets of Miami, where he quite rightly saw him in one of his own custom painted supercars.
Hey man! Wait. Are you in a Lambo right now?
Yes man! Check it out. It’s crazy. Last night we had about 20 super cars pulling up here in Miami. This is the pink I just wrapped and spray painted the door on.
“If you give me a spray can right now and show me a wall, I’ll just do it.” I don’t even think so.
So you are from Toronto, but you spent your childhood in Sao Paulo. What was the graffiti scene like there growing up?
It was big, actually. The main thing was tags on the street. It’s funny, I know it’s bad, but I used to tag in the street. But I had a knack for drawing, so what I would do is buy some spray cans, put them in my backpack, find all those labels on the walls, and tell the building owners that I would paint on it and go back to a big graffiti. They would be like, it sounds amazing, but how much is it going to cost? I would say no, it doesn’t cost anything, it’s just my hobby! So it became an important thing for me.
Have you studied art?
No, man, I didn’t study. It was just me, my brother and my cousins who drew and made music – I had a family of artists, so all my life I was always in art. I have been a drummer for so many years. I played for a lot of people. And when I moved to Canada, I was a drummer for a while, then I became a singer. I have been on the road for seven years. I have had millions of views on YouTube.
Wow. Did you also naturally become a singer?
It was good. But it wasn’t my passion, you know? If you give me a spray can right now and show me a wall, I’ll go do it. I don’t even think so. I’ll be doing freestyle right away. But as a singer it was difficult. I would go to the studio, sit down and have to write a song. Write even a song? Man, that was a headache. It wasn’t my thing. It’s such a big responsibility to be the leader on stage and sing in front of thousands of people.
So what made you come out of music?
It’s been about five years. I was doing well in my singing career, but my career was a bit blocked and I was not moving forward. My son was just born, and I didn’t want to spend all of my time marketing and this and that, so I went back to my brother, who had a construction business, and worked with him to run this. . But just when I decided to quit, these two Portuguese from Toronto approached me and they said they wanted to explode my career. I was like, is this for real? You know, when people have money, sometimes they want to own you. And that’s exactly what happened.
“I remember the time in Brazil when I would go back to the streets with my spray can and listen to music on my Discman, and it was like therapy for me. When I paint, I go to another world.
It did not work ?
I was excited about the money and signed the contract, but from there they owned me. I was literally locked in an office writing articles for a celebrity magazine and doing a radio show on Portuguese Radio. A year and a half went by, and I was like, what am I doing in my life? I don’t want that. I’m stressed out and I’m not like that, I’m a super cool guy and I’m always happy. I told them, listen, I signed up with you to make music, and I don’t make music! They wanted to use my name and my image to build their brand. So I left the company.
And that’s when you got back into art?
I came home and needed to do something to relax. I remembered the time in Brazil when I would go back to the streets with my spray can and listen to music on my Discman, and it was like therapy for me. When I paint, I go to another world. I forget everything and I’m right there on my vibe. This is my passion. I love my art. Do you know Michael’s in Toronto?
The art store? Yeah.
I went to Michael’s and bought some canvas, some paint, whatever, and just started painting to relax. I started doing it in the locker room of my condo. Boyfriend. I started posting it on my IG, just for fun. I don’t have a ton of followers, but I have a good number of followers, some celebrities follow me and stuff too. People are starting to reach out. It was like what? Are you a drummer, singer, and do you paint too? Since when? How much do you want for the paintings?
So you started selling them?
Every week it was like, I want to buy, I want to buy! It made me realize that there is a business here. I can do something that I love and that is my passion and make money from it and make it my professional career. I haven’t stopped since. My best two years so far have been during the pandemic. People order my pieces like crazy. I have my own studio. The money has poured in. So I’m very grateful to these two guys who put me in the box with the music, because without them I couldn’t get back to my art.
“We hang a Lamborghini from a crane and spray paint it in the air. “
What was your first exposure to NFTs?
I was signed by Bieber Industries, which is the company of Jeremy Bieber, Justin Bieber’s father. We had a meeting and I met this guy Jay, who was building their website, he was the genius behind the business apps and stuff. I created a drawing of this bear and then asked Jay to bring it to life as a 3D render. But he didn’t just show me on a computer. He showed me in augmented reality. He put the bear right in my studio, in AR! I was panicking. It was crazy. It was just around the time when NFTs were getting big, and I think I must be the first guy in Canada to open an NFT gallery. Let’s get a gallery, paint it white, and have all the art in NFT in AR form.
And did it eventually come together?
No, because we were still locked out, so I thought, instead, why don’t we sign some artists, we create their 3D art in AR, we find a famous street in Toronto, and we create an event. where we pin all art along a street in AR. It would be an augmented reality show on the street. In the end, we decided to make our own app for AR NFTs, and now we’ve signed up a lot of artists and celebrities.
What’s going on at Art Basel now in Miami?
I have a bunch of exhibits. On the last day, we hook a Lamborghini to a crane and spray paint it in the air. I broke my head with insurance, engineers and mechanics.
Wow. Don’t let him down.
That’s what everyone says! I was like, now that everyone has said it, we’re going to let it go. I wouldn’t mind. If I drop the Lambo, the next day my parts will cost $ 300,000. [Laughs.] Just hanging up the Lamborghini is going to go viral. If I drop it, it will go super viral! We also publish NFTs of Lamborghinis that I paint. Hopefully if nothing happens, we’ll drop it, do a 3D scan, and sell one of them, the actual Lamborghini that was painted in the air. Then, on the 10th, I take this Lamborghini for a ride on the track, then someone is going to drive it.
So you can’t let it go. You need it for the race.
I need it! I don’t want it to be broken because I want to have a chance to drive it!