Alexandre Farto AKA Vhils
First impression and reaction to Alexandre Farto’s work:
The artist I was assigned was Alexandre Farto, otherwise known as Vhils. While browsing through his website of work, my initial reaction to seeing his work was how beautiful the way the work was presented as well as the process of how it is done. While watching the videos of Vhils creating some of the work I thought it was amazing to see how in a location that is almost ruined or decaying, Vhils takes the already breaking down wall and emphasizes it. He would paint the existing wall and then he would chisel, drill, scratch or explode off certain pieces off. I found this to be an extremely destructive process but it really intensifies the idea of destruction being beautiful.
From the videos alone and seeing how it Vhils and his teams work to create the pieces take my breath away because once creating a scratch or dent in the wall or wooden surface as his canvas, it is not like a drawing or painting where you’ll be capable of going back and erasing or covering it up, for his work, it almost spontaneous because with the markings that he does make, it’s not certain as to how it will appear. The markings may appear larger or create a different shape than expect but it makes it perfectly imperfect. Overall, just by looking at the work, I was completely blown away and enjoyed the corrosive and torn effects he uses in his work.
Reflection on reading in relevance to Alexandre Farto:
Upon reading Maggie Dickinson’s “The Making of Space, Race, and Place -Critique of Anthropology 28,” what stood out the most from the reading was the idea of graffiti writers being criminals when tagging and placing their work in public spaces and that these “culprits” are people of color from the ghetto areas of New York City. Further into the reading, as it came to a section that covered New York city’s subway system and how poorly it was being mistreated due to years of disinvestment and delayed maintenance. The graffiti writers found this to be an opportunity to create beauty in an area of the city that was ignored to be fixed. I found that the idea that the graffiti writers at the time was similar to what Vhils, also had when he creates his work. The idea of the underground transit system being in what I interpreted as a place of ruins reflects the downfall that the city has been going through.
In reflection to Vhils’ work, I took away the impression that he wanted to bring beauty to these areas and when using portraiture as a focus, he wanted to use people as an inspiration of those from the area. This connects to the graffiti artists in New York City because they are also trying to leave their mark and a piece of them in a city that they are from. During this time, the government was pushing the poor and working class out or to the edge of the city because they found them to be a contribution to their financial problem. In addition, they assumed most of the graffiti artists, who they considered as criminals, are from these class levels. Even if majority of the graffiti artists were from this class of these areas, I think that in the process of being pushed out of their city, they wanted to show their government up. They wanted to let them know that they are still here and they are part of this city, and that graffiti is a form of voicing their ideas and opinions. Vhils does the same in a way of leaving a mark of the people from the areas he creates these works in. Although it won’t be as personal as the actual person in that community leaving their own mark, but Vhils captures photos of people who may have made an influence in these communities. I find these two ideas between what Vhils and the graffiti artists in New York city very intimate because it is similarly looking at people who make an influence in their community. Vhils does this by leaving a marking of a person’s face that has lived in the area. The graffiti artists in New York create images or tags that relate to them and around them to voice their opinions.