CARVING HIS OWN UNIQUE PATH IN THE URBAN ART SCENE IS PORTUGUESE ARTIST ALEXANDRE FARTO WHO ALSO GOES BY HIS STREET ART NAME VHILS. THE 29 YEAR OLD ARTIST HAS BEEN INTERACTING VISUALLY WITH THE URBAN ENVIRONMENT SINCE HIS DAYS AS A GRAFFITI WRITER IN THE EARLY 2000S.
words by IEVAN DARWIN
Known for his chiselled face portraits where he breaks away surface layer of walls to create some of the most intricately detailed and breathtaking street art work. His groundbreaking carving technique has been hailed as one of the most compelling approaches to art created in the street in the last decade. His artwork, though destructive in nature, possesses a meaningful and poetic energy that resonates and which can be found in cities around the world. It is seen as a work of subtraction and exposure where his form of art reveals the hidden beauty beneath the surface of things, unveiling a beautifully crafted art piece which is visually sticking. Brutal and complex in nature, Farto’s art is simple but it evokes some deep human emotions. His work embodies how the artist himself expresses the aspirations he has by challenging the saturated environment of the urban spaces surrounding him. His artwork on the streets are not just seen as art but as a conversation with the community as well. Farto moved to London in 2007 studying at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design where the following year, in 2008, his groundbreaking carving technique was brought to an international audience when he took part in The Cans Festival, where his work received critical acclaim. Having grown up in Seixal, an industrialised suburb across the river from Lisbon, in the capital of Portugal, Farto has been deeply influenced by the transformations brought on by the intensive urban development Portugal underwent in the 1980s and 1990s which is very much evident in his work. An avid experimentalist, he has been developing his version of what vandalism is about through his street art since 2004, from stencil painting to wall carving, giving him an endless medium to work with while still being able to expand the boundaries of his visual expression. Hammer drills, chisels and sometimes explosives are some of the tools used by the Portuguese artist to shape portraits of people in walls, doors and other structures. It is of no doubt that his unique approach and artwork have been garnering critical acclaim around the world.