In the world of street art Banksy may be king, but Portuguese visual artist Alexandre Farto is also making a big noise, a very big noise.
His technique is explosive, using gunpowder to engrave walls under his nom de guerre, Vhils. He has put on exhibitions in Macao and Beijing, is organising the music and art festival “Iminente” in London and in Lisbon, where his latest project is a new public work in collaboration with Shepard Fairey, aka Obey Giant, who created Barack Obama’s “Hope” poster.
Just finished my #Blondie mural in #NYC and #ChrisStein and #DebbieHarry were kind enough to swing by! Thanks
joerussophoto</a> for the photo! <a href="https://t.co/Ym1puqWvca">pic.twitter.com/Ym1puqWvca</a></p>— Shepard Fairey (OBEYGIANT) 24 août 2017
We asked Vhils where his name comes from.
“Vhils comes from the time when I would do graffiti and those were the letters I could draw quicker and which I most liked to draw. So the name stayed. The work evolved, but the name stayed,” he says.
“I started with graffiti, that’s my background, my school. Starting from there, I started studying new methods, from stencils to this new concept of extraction. Instead of adding something to the wall, I take something from the wall.”
His partnership with Fairey is a long-standing one.
“Working with Shepard Fairey was a big honor, he’s a reference. He started in 88 or 89. Besides, he’s not just someone I admire very much, he’s very humble and hard-working. He has an enormous force to believe in this urban art movement.”
Read my recent interview with
Dazed</a>! <a href="https://t.co/WQNeAq1HlV">https://t.co/WQNeAq1HlV</a></p>— Shepard Fairey (OBEYGIANT) 9 septembre 2017
“Lisbon and other cities around the world have new images on their walls, and also a new name: Vhils,” reports euronews’ Ricardo Figueira. “He is a complete artist who goes far beyond what we call “street art”.
You must destroy the old and the typical in order to creat something new, what has not yet been. Stop by this incredible piece by
vhils1</a>! <a href="https://t.co/UrAFKGqlZd">pic.twitter.com/UrAFKGqlZd</a></p>— Downtown Project (DowntownProjLV) 15 août 2017