Vagabond Veli: Balance


The young creative with the artsy gift

With Instagram, Tumblr and other social media sites providing platforms for aspiring creatives and models, a lane has opened for any pretty face to pursue what they believe is their calling. Where most falter though, is their failure to identify the art and technical aspects of their craft, and the thought that they can reach the top on looks alone. In the young NYC creative known affectionately as Vagabond Veli’s case though, art and modeling is a synonymous entity, and it shows in her work. “90% of my shots I edit myself,” She says. “I come up with most of the locations & concepts for my shoots. I’m often suggesting different lighting & angles. I always know what vibe I’m trying to create so the shoots go pretty smoothly. I guess that’s the artist side of me showing up in the way I go about shoots. The art & fashion are definitely intertwined.” The marriage of the two fields have gained Veli quite the following and made her a figure to keep an eye out for on the New York creative scene.


“The art & fashion are definitely intertwined”

Veli’s creative pursuits were sparked by her parents at an early age, who were talents in their own right. She picked up a knack for drawing and art from her father who taught her basic techniques and gave her artistic books to hone her craft. Her fashion however, that was all moms. “My mom was a dancehall dancer so her fashion was the type of hood Caribbean aesthetic that was ahead of her time,” She says. “Most of the urban trends I see now my mom was doing when it was considered tacky. But she was my main fashion icon & I would see how different outfits would bring out different personas from her so I always thought of fashion as a way to tell a story & be who you want to be.”

Photo by @Marlonhamilton_

“Most of the urban trends I see now my mom was doing when it was considered tacky”

Veli’s ambition and eye for fashion has connected her with numerous like minded movements as she has worked with brands such as Ghost Supply, a shoot she names as her favorite yet. Like most creatives though, she often deals with the dilemma of naysayers who suggest that the arts are simply not sustainable to pursue as a career. “People who aren’t creatives just don’t get it,” She says. “They tell you your goals are unrealistic. They’ll tell you to take a safer route. I sometimes struggle with thinking what if I’m doing too much or this isn’t meant for me. That leads to lack of consistency & productivity because I’m leading with my emotions.”

Photo by @__g20z

“People who aren’t creatives just don’t get it”

Even with the minor speed bumps, Veli has continued to push on and pursue her dream. As a model, she hopes to be featured everywhere from websites, to magazines and commercials as well as being a brand ambassador. As an artist, she is slowly crafting a comic and plans to dive into graphic design, logos and portraits. “I’m interested in doing more interviews, putting myself out there more, taking more risks,” Veli says. Well she can a add Gritty Vibes interview to her resume, and we have a feeling we won’t be the last.

IG: @veli__v