He’d already had to turn down the opportunity of a lifetime–forcing him to question his commitment to art–and now, just as Daos501 was maturing in his new art form, grafitti, the community around him was starting to die. Good cans weren’t available and everyone he knew was quitting. Daos tried to, but couldn’t.
“I figured out it was more than a hobby. It’s a part of my life.”
Daos501 and his friend Liar Ben decided to find the community—or at least other interested people—across Vietnam. They set up talks and workshops up and down the country: Hoi An, Hue, and Hanoi. They gave presentations about different aspects of street art and graffiti, and made sure they had a wall to work on wherever they went.
“Not a lot of people came, but the audience that did come was so excited.”
In Hoi An, an ancient trading village and UNESCO World Heritage Site, a monk joined the talks. He spray painted a dragon.
The tour invigorated Daos and he pushed harder than ever to into the form. He started his own graffiti shop and saved up to travel the region. In China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, and Myanmar, Daos represented Saigon at meet ups, making friends and learning how crews operated internationally.
It was at this critical juncture in his career, as everything was bulding on itself and momentum was on his side, that it was all brought to a halt. In late 2013 Daos was conscripted into the national service. He had to shut down his shop, put his studies on hold, and report for duty—18 months away from his life and art.