Episode #2 of the course “Street artists you should know”
The street artist known as “Vhils” was born Alexandre Farto in Portugal in 1987. Revolutionizing the technique of street art, Vhils differs from other artist in his subject matter and aggressive artistic techniques. He has been known to blast and etch images into buildings using drills, acid, and even dynamite.
Vhils first gained notoriety with the art displayed next to Banksy at the 2008 Cans Festival in London. He carved an oversized face into a wall with such drama and detail that he captured many people’s attention. Ever since, Vhils has become known for his oversized, dramatic portraits. As a street artist, he often works with plaster and brick but is a master of several media, including collage, wood, and metal. He also often works to construct images from photographs rather than from memory or direct observation.
Vhils has stated that he often creates art portraying the regular citizens he sees in the cities where he is creating murals, rather than focusing on creating images of people already elevated as social icons. Using found objects and man-made materials allows Vhils to infuse his work with the tension between art as an object and art as a production, as well as the tension of destroying in order to create. He is inspired to work with the layers of materials, excited to see how the layers underneath will affect the final art product. Because of the nature of his work, many of his portraits are left untitled.
Vhils’ latest exhibit in 2012 featured styrofoam carved into the shapes of buildings and ultimately creating a portrait. Vhils currently lives and works in London and Lisbon.
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