Walter DeForest is an NYC-based performer and artist known as #vgfy performs his solo show, "Van Gogh Find Yourself,” at Fringe Festivals both overseas and in the continental U.S. Walter also produces theatre and events on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in the upstairs of the Iconic Irish Pub, Ryan's Daughter where is also a #vgfy Live art installation called the #RDphotobooth.
Walter will be performing at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia, The Unofficial Upper East Side EdFest at Ryan's Daughter, the Orlando Art Museum, as part of the Orlando Fringe, WASH PARK ART will exhibit #vgfy's artwork that has been created over the last 3 years as well as performing in the Cincy Fringe.
Walter will make another attempt in 2018 after beating the World Record for "Most Portraits in 12 Hours," two years running all to raise awareness for the mental health charity Support In Mind Scotland.
Walter will be headed back to London, and then the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, The Vintage Festival by the Sea and finally The Morecambe Fringe.
In 2017, Walter was a cast member in the immersive, improvised, international hit show “Joe’s NYC Bar” at Ryan's Daughter in NYC - Additional performing credits include Don Creedon's "Guy Walks Into a Bar” (Audience Award Best Show, Irish NYC Theatre Festival); "The Ryan Case 1873” (Drama Desk Nominee); and storytelling at The Moth. Walter trained at William Esper Studios with Suzanne Esper. Artwork can be seen on https://www.instagram.com/vangoghfindyourself/ or searching for #vgfy
With A Firm Handshake
Walter Michael DeForest #vgfy
VGFY art on instagram
Upcoming Shows in 2018
Barnes Foundation Philadephia Feb 23
NYC February - 24-25 Unofficial U.E.S. EdFest
March 30 - April @ Ryan's Daughter
Orlando Art Museum May 15th - 28th.
Cinncy Fringe June 1-10
London, Edinburgh, Morecambe, Summer of 2018
World Record Most portraits in 12 Hrs (163) Aug 10, 2017
Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.
– Vincent Van Gogh
Van Gogh Love Yourself is happening Friday Feb 14. Relationship and dating advise from Vincent. A bit of fun to be had, art supplies available, Music and a Sexpert to open the evening featuring:
KRISTA KOMONDOR (Writer/Performer) Krista Komondor is a comedian, playwright, and recovering nurse practitioner. Her first solo show to debut at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival garnered five stars, and was described as “Comic gold with a big loving heart.” She has performed in the US, UK, and France. Her improvisational background includes work with the Magnet Theater and Upright Citizens Brigade. Krista documents her journey from mousy healthcare provider to ballsy performer on becomingacomedian.com. More information can be found at
I am also revealing the Vegan Sheppards Pie Friday Night. as I have been Vegan for 5 months and continuing to break down the fear and anxiety of taking total control of what I am putting into my body. It is a bit overwhelming but I find that reconnecting with nature and what the earth provides us with is utterly humbling. When I think about all the food, shelter, clothing, medicine that is all provided by our wonderful planet, a deeper connection to my life unfolds as well as I continue to create and perform, “Always searching, never finding.” – Vincent
In other news Arther Holmberg, who interviewed me during the summer for his book wanted to reference my research.
Absolutely, I said and most Importantly are the 1st two that I have dove into. Also the stories you hear and the information gathered from my trips through France, Belgium the EU and the UK have deepened my experience, the show and my life.
Now considered the definitive biography of Van Gogh, written in partnership with the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, Naifeh and White-Smith had access to materials no previous biographer had the opportunity to study. They have made the larger-than-life Vincent human and accessible without diminishing the historical and artistic presence of Van Gogh one whit
SunFlower Boy: a nickname I have been given by some lovely little boys who came to Walter The Wanderer Book reading and Coulour Along as part of the 2 shows I was performing in at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
I have had a “Sunflower” or as the say in France, “Tournesol” that I attached to my shoe and people / photographers could not get enough of it.
While attending the 50th Anniversary of the Photography Festival in Arles hundreds of people took pictures of my shoes, ha.
Ahhh now that the Fringe is over …. I am now getting ready to head back to NYC in a week. I am relaxing in Edinburgh and a seed has been planted… maybe the dream was planted 4 years ago… now it’s peeking out and voicing … with a deep calmness and steady voice, ” Move to Edinburgh”.
Moving to Edinburgh is a new idea for me and quite exhilarating to think about and also terrifying in a sense as well.
Change is the only constant.
I have tried to live free and love fully in life. Traveling with friends and finding new ones, creating art alongside beautiful souls gathering together. I feel I am living Vincent Van Gogh’s dream of creating his Art Colony, the Studio of the South that he envisioned creating with Paul Gaugain and the help of Vincent’s Brother Theo.
I have traveled in the footsteps of Vincent, The Borinage in Belgium, Mons, the Marcasse mines where he suffered and preached and lived with the poor coal miners. Auvers-sur-Oise, in the fields where he suffered the deadly gunshot wound.
The bedroom where he died and spent his last breathe with his brother Theo. His Funeral was in this room as well as the church would not allow a “suicide” into the church.
The memories of the 79 day trip across the Uk and EU has deepened my understanding of myself, my art and my heArt.
My thoughts on Van Gogh Find Yourself #vgfy:
I let my work speak for itself. Maybe I should say, “our work”, as we create together during the performance, with “No Judgement”. The art is then gifted to each other spreading the memories for years to come regarding the story and love that shaped Vincent’s historical and monumental life. Vincent is loved. So, how to get to a place artistically that is not pretentious, didactic and fresh??? I have had to learn to let go and breathe, as I have had to learn in life as well. I am proud to say the reactions I get from my audiences help me deal with my mental health as well. The emotional confirmation that art is alive in us, love is alive, kindness is alive.
I cried when I read this following review and I am laughing while I type this as I realize it is a gift. You see I did not send out one press release as I get a bit in my head and overwhelmed with that type of thing. The posters and competition in Edinburgh is Immense… daunting, and I just wanted to perform the best and grow the show to where it can be universally adaptable to any museum, venue, restaurant, Kitchen table. I have stripped the show to the bare essentials and the review gets that and I feel good about the fact that the reviewer was not even supposed to review my show, but fate was on my side.
thanks for reading and I will update with some more pics and a story of meeting my Love.
Walter and Vincent
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The drawing collectively around his desk is to free us from the constraints around ourselves. Vincent channels the creativity in the room along with the inner peace and calm that he exudes as he starts the narrative. It could be a number of narratives because he has very rich material.
The script may meander and depend upon how he feels on that day but what is astonishing is the performance. It is exceptional. That degree of connection with a character is often rare and very often you feel the electricity when you are amongst it. There is a true artist here and it aint Van Gogh.
It’s astonishing and when DeForest drops the accent and speaks in his own natural accent I have to lift my jaw from the floor. He is utterly convincing. The hesitancy, the thinking on his feet, the naivete that he displays even when he talks of his own death as Van Gogh is awe inspiring.
The conceit of it being an adult art type class with an audience that has no artifice to struggle through, no props or hidden objects to wade past and no trickery to see past adds to that. We have no curtains, lights or props to enhance the raw performance. DeForest needs none of that because his knowledge of the subject and the way in which he channels that energy through his drawing and our attention is all the spark required.
When he finished his drawing and gave it to the man across from him you really felt that it was a privilege. The emotion that causes him to break down at the end is real. The emotion authentic and the love he feels for doing what he does, the cost to his pocket but the increasing humanity of himself is just beautiful to see and to be a part of.
He spoke of his attempt to break the world record of drawing portraits and it is another highlight of the afternoon. I happened upon this because of missing another piece of theatre and serendipity did me a favour today. I wish DeForest well in his attempt to break a record, but I hope he returns with this again, and again, and again. It is pure theatrical gold.
Audience Reviews from Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2019
What a wonderful experience!
I went to see Vincent Van Gogh on Saturday 23rd August with my Mum.
We both came away feeling incredibly moved and inspired. Evident how much research went into the making of this show. And how much love. Easily one our favourite experiences of the Fringe.
If ever you find yourself looking for a truly immersive performance, we couldn’t recommend this one more.
Keep doing what you’re doing Walter, it’s wonderful!!!
I have been talking to Walter for about 3 months now he is a wonderful human and his show is the best van Gogh show out there. I have been to the show 4 times this year and I just think its wonderful I like how you can make art while learning about Vincent’s life I definitely Recommend this show to everybody.
Moving, sweet and memorable – the sort of left field experience that perhaps is only possible in Edinburgh. I’d highly recommend a visit to this uniquely intimate event. Thank you, Walter, for sharing your passion and insights into an artist we all think we know – but was actually much more complex than the familiar caricature.
Watched #vgfy on my last day in Edinburgh and loved it so much, wished I could watch it again.
Special and unique piece, sensitive and beautiful performance ♡
A really enjoyable, arty and informative hour spent in wonderful company. Vincent (or Walter) is very entertaining and his show is a hidden gem. Can’t recommend it highly enough. Go for the art and stay for the entertainment!
Vincent was alive in Walter. The artist that inspires us all so much met his match in the equally inspirational artist, Walter Deforest. Incredibly moving and informative, and great fun too, unleashing you’re inner artist. If you see any free show at the Fringe PLEASE make it this one, it’s what Vincent would have wanted.
☆☆☆☆ A Hidden Gem
What a delightful surprise this show was. Intimate both in its staging and delivery, the audience sit at a small painting workshop along with Vincent (Walter DeForest), as he beautifully narrates his life story. DeForest brings a casual passion to the character, always real but never overwhelmingly so, a perfect balance to sway his (sadly sparse) audience and take them for a ride down memory lane. In a quieter venue and with a more welcoming stage, this show would be an absolute hit. Totally recommended!
You will be so happy you came upon this show! The performer really embodies the spirit of Van Gogh, you learn a lot about his life, AND you even may pick up some artistic ability too. The performer Walter really throws himself into the role and disappears, at times I felt like I really was listening to Van Gogh. He makes many salient points about how we treat artists today, and how we treat art in general. A beautiful show, highly recommend it, for ALL ages.
A brilliant show on the 4th. An excellent & natural performance. Combining a little art therapy with an entertaining delivery, I recommend this show unreservedly.
JUNE 23 I am leaving on a 79 day Journey through France
First Stop, London: I am sure there is a kickoff event in London but my pals are taking care of that. Then we are driving a car painted with sunflowers to Arles, in the south of France for the Photography Festival:
Arles The Yellow House June 31-July 10 (Largest Photography Exhibition in the world)
Nancy, in the Leon region I hope to meet the famous sculptour Remus Botar Botarro who is called the next Brancusi. Remus called me on the phone 2 weeks ago while I was working at Ryans Daughter. Remus said that he has a place for me and my work in his museums in London and Paris. We met by chance in 2016. I believe the reason he offered me this chance of a lifetime was because of our short conversation on the street of Edinburgh, I did not know who he was, he asked me if I copy Van Gogh’s Style? My response was, I have no idea what happens when the pen is put to the paper, the creative process is something magical and if anyone tells you they know what it is they are lying …. he left and came back in 45 minutes … introduced himself, gave me his card and then offered me the chance Van Gogh Never got, a space to show his work. (I cried, sweetly)
Hello, I was responding to a request for information for an upcoming live drawing event. I wanted to pass this along to internet travelers. Cheers, Walter and Vincent
Walter is a NYC based artist currently traveling the world with his one-man show about Vincent Van Gogh. Walter draws live performances around NYC and in the Festival and also draws live while he is performing his show.
For the 4th Year while in Edinburgh, on August 10th his late Mum’s Birthday, Walter will attempt to break the world record for Most Portraits in 12 Hours to raise awareness for Mental Health and the charity Support In Mind Scotland.
Walter’s home base is the Iconic Irish Pub Ryan’s Daughter in Yorkville on the U.E.S.
You can find him upstairs curating festivals and art shows, or he will draw you a live portrait.
We will be at the house of an artist friend … a Documentary on the eviction of himself and other artists by The Lambeth Council. The artist ironically sad but actually has a photo of his work ion the Lamp Posts in a neighboring council.
22/7/2018 London: I landed at Heathrow early on Monday, went to Slough and had a nice breakfast with Gerard and his Mum. It is nice to be picked up from the airport by a friendly face, Gerard. I met Gerard at the Orlando International Fringe in May. Fringe friends. I cant say more. Amazing.
In London I am an Artist in Residence at Cafe Van Gogh in Brixton. I sketch when I stop in, have a meal and I feel at home.
Dan and Venus 24-7-18 @CafeVanGoghBrixton
Van Gogh Walk is around the corner as well as The Van Gogh House on 87 Hackford Rd.
I rode by on my bike and the house is under renovation. My tire suddenly went flat so I had to stay a bit anyway.
This is a Historic Site.
‘VINCENT VAN GOGH, 1853 – 1890, Painter, lived here 1873 – 1874’
The people involved in the renovations are TOPS. Connor from Cork (another Ginger), chatted with me, we took a selfie and then he said that Livia was stopping by in a minute.
Livia is the architect and she showed me the inside of the house. The Garden is gutted and the house still has support beams holding up the ceiling on each floor of the house. Wallpaper is peeled, old newspapers from the 1950’s are strewn about and I could see the view from the window and imagine Vincent peacefully gazing out the window. Climbing the steps and then of course asking the landlady’s daughter for her hand in marriage, but alas, Vincent was too late as someone had beat him to the proposal.
The renovations will bring about an artist residency. Surreal to say the least and also effortless in a way. Timing is everything.
On Wednesday I went to see Bat Outa Hell and Meatloaf was in the audience. Peter Michael Marino just landed and my friends in London, James and Diana had an extra ticket for Peter. YAY.
Diana just hot a wonderful note in her photography as she released never before seen photos of Amy Winehouse.
Is this real? Pinch me please. I am looking to come back in March for the opening of the Tate Museum’sVan Gogh Exhibition, The renovations are also planning to be done, fingers crossed, to coincide with the Tate’s Van Gogh Exhibition opening.
Have you always wanted to meet a famous artist? Now you can. I will portray Vincent Van Gogh and guide you through the Metropolitan Museum of Art to talk about my paintings displayed inside. As Vincent, I will talk about certain aspects of each of my paintings in the museum, and we may see some of my friends’ artwork in the Met as well. After about an hour in the museum, we will have lunch or a snack. At this time I will draw your portrait.
I am an NYC-based performer and artist known as #vgfy. In February, 2018, I play the Philadelphia Barnes Museum, and return to NYC immediately for the Unofficial Upper East Side EdFest @ Ryan’s Daughter on the Upper East Side. In May, I will perform at The Orlando Art Museum as part of the Orlando International Fringe Festival, then it’s off to the Cincy Fringe, NYC, London, Edinburgh, and Morecambe Fringe. Returning to NYC for 2 shows Sept 19 and 26, 2018.
Always wanted to go to Edinburgh Fringe but were deathly afraid of the TSA? No worries! You can enjoy twelve diverse shows that rocked the Edinburgh Festival Fringe at the second Unofficial Upper East Side EdFest! February 24th and 25thPeter Michael Marino, Harmon Leon, and Walter Michael DeForestpresent a unique theatrical experience, taking over the intimate second floor of the historic Ryan’s Daughter in NYC for 2 glorious days. Enjoy everything from solo comedies to fake tribute bands offering up encore performances of shows that played in 2017 at the acclaimed world’s largest arts festival. But that’s not all! You can also enjoy revivals of shows from 2012-2016, and previews of new shows headed to Edinburgh in 2018. Woohoo! Just some of the shows you’ll be privileged to attend include Paul Valenti’s “The Long Miserable Journey to Happiness,” Chris Davis’ “Drunk Lion,” Adam & Jenny’s “Pop Filter,” an All Star Reading of Peter Michael Marino’s “Desperately Seeking the Exit,” Walter Michael DeForest’s “Van Gogh Brunch Yourself,” Christine Holt’s“Domesticated,” Katie Kopajtic’s “Confessions of a Personal Trainer,” and so many more! Don’t miss out!
Mentions: February 24 & 25 from 1:00 p.m. through 11:30 p.m. $10 for each show. $35 Festival Pass. Ryan’s Daughter is located at 350 E 85th St, NYC 10028 (Q Train at 86 Street). Beer specials courtesy of Coney Island Brewery. Brunch catering courtesy NYC’s go-to for authentic German meat and sausages Schaller & Webber Catering.