How VHILS Humanizes Public Spaces With His Intricate Relief Portraits

A close look at his techniques rooted in “creative destruction.”

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Arts 
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Alexandre Farto, aka VHILS, is renowned for his monumental relief portraits in locations across the globe. Since the early 2000s, the Portuguese artist has spearheaded countless projects spanning graffiti, street art, site-specific works, installations, and the creation of“destructive” printed materials such as bleach prints coated with acid.

The artist’s relationship with materials is both intuitive and profound. From using the natural decay of rusty metal doors to accentuate his portraits to arranging fluorescent lights in an abstract pattern to evince a human form, the artist champions a natural yet innovative approach to developing his signature creations. “I never know [how the artwork] is going to end up. I have an image in my head, but when I carve the wall, I never know what I’m going to discover.”

Throughout his boundary-pushing practice, VHILS aims to humanize public spaces with chiseled portraits of random passersby that reside in the region he is working in while experimenting with new materials to expand his artistic worldview. “All your dreams, expectations of life, happiness, and freedom are shaped by everything around us. That’s where a lot of the work started and there is a lot of that connection to humanity and humanizing the public space,” he said to HYPEBEAST.

We connected with VHILS at his studio in Barreiro, Portugal for the latest installment of HYPEBEAST Impressions. Watch the video above to see the entire visit with the artist.

Elsewhere in art, The Art Institute of Chicago will host a monumental survey on Barbara Kruger this November.

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