Can beauty be created out of destruction and chaos? Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto believes that it can, and offers his incredible chiseled portraits on the side of buildings, as proof.
23-year-old Farto, aka Vhils, grew up in Seixal, on the outskirts of Lisbon, and became interested in graffiti art during the late 1990s. Apparently, at some point that just wasn’t enough for him and he started looking for other ways to express his creativity through urban art. He came up with subtractive art, which involves creating detailed portraits by breaking away pieces of walls, by using various techniques. His amazing works have been chiseled onto various derelict buildings around Europe and featured in exhibitions alongside pieces by world-renowned street artists the likes of Banksy. The young artist hopes his “faces in the city” portraits will inspire people to see beyond what meets the eye.
To create his magnificent portraits, Alexandre Farto usually begins by sketching out the piece in spraypaint before using a variety of destructive techniques to get rid of wall plaster. His arsenal includes hammers, drills, chisels, bleach and even explosives. After he has removed the excess plaster from the wall, Farto will often use additional color and shading to refine the look of his artworks. Still, “It’s never me who determines the final form of a piece,” Vhils says. “I never have and never want to have absolute control over what I’m doing – I like the unexpected and the uncertain.”
Watching the artist at work, you may find the creative process brutal and destructive, but the final results are simply mind-blowing. “The idea is to take the act of vandalism – the act of destroying in order to create – to the extreme, as modus operandi” Farto says.
Photos © Alexandre Farto