The Rich Roll Podcast

Van Neistat Is The Spirited Man

A mysterious artist on the cusp of breakthrough success walks away from it all. Beyond the public’s gaze, he spends the next decade pursuing purity, beauty and truths both personal and universal.

Then, like a Jedi returning from parts unknown, the artist resurfaces as ‘The Spirited Man’. And this ‘Spirited Man’ goes by the name Van.

Van Neistat to be precise.

The elder half of The Neistat Brothers, it’s a name that will ring familiar to many, a name typically associated with a superstar YouTuber, OG vlogger, and friend of the pod, Casey Neistat.

In the Neistat Venn Diagram, Van and Casey overlap on many traits. Both are artists with an utterly distinct aesthetic. Both are exceptional filmmakers who honed their skills in the days before YouTube even existed. Both have a preternatural aptitude for storytelling, perfectionist dispositions, an appreciation for the analog, and extreme respect for detail. The list goes on.

And yet, Van and Casey are also very different artists with disparate sensibilities.

Back in 2010 after the Neistat Brothers HBO show wasn’t picked up for a second season, Casey went on to become, well Casey Neistat. Van on the other hand, embarked on a very different journey. An artistic journey of self-discovery—outside the public sphere—until recently.

Now re-emerged by dint of his recently launched YouTube Channel, ‘The Spirited Man’, Van muses philosophical and explores questions large and small with a curious, introspective flare that is totally unique, utterly compelling, and just-so-perfectly Van.

I was (and continue to be) thoroughly entranced by this series—and so curious about Van—that I reached out to Casey to connect us.

Today Van shares his story, and it is wild.

My plan was to unfurl ‘The Story of Van Neistat’ in a relatively linear fashion.

That’s not at all what happened. And this exchange is better for it.

Fluid and conversational, this is an excavation of the artist life. It’s as much about hardship and survival as it is about creativity and productivity.

We discuss curiosity, sobriety, discipline, the value of being meticulous, and his commitment to preserving an analog life.

We talk about why he didn’t continue making films with Casey and Van’s many collaborations with artist Tom Sachs.

Finally, Van spins a few epic yarns featuring Werner Herzog, the Safdie Brothers, and the lore of 368 Broadway—a building in lower Manhattan that birthed many an amazing creative career in the early 2000s.

To read more click here. You can also watch our exchange on YouTube. And as always, the podcast streams wild and free on Apple Podcasts and Spotify.

Van is super awesome. I love this one. Hope you do too.

Peace + Plants,

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Thanks to this week’s sponsors:

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Thank The Team: I do not do this alone. Send your love to Jason Camiolo for audio engineering, production and show notes and interstitial music, Additional music by Moby, Margo Lubin and Blake Curtis for video, editing and graphics; portraits by Davy Greenberg & Grayson Wilder; copywriting by Georgia Whaley; and theme music by Tyler Piatt, Trapper Piatt & Hari Mathis.

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