Some of Vhils creations imitate old grainy, sepia-toned photographs that mostly belong to photo albums of yesteryears. The only difference is these ‘photos’ are mostly etched on the walls of buildings that have been created by destruction. Today, his amazing street art adorns many streets, buildings and art galleries.
Vhils creates portraits that convey a powerful message and his tool for creation is destruction. In an interview with wakamakalaka.com, he explains, “I like to use destructive means to create artwork that’s meaningful and poetic, mostly portraits that can humanize the often-oppressive public space that we find in our cities. You can think of stenciling that creates a symbolic window that helps reveal what lies hidden beneath the surface of things. It’s a work of subtraction and exposure.”
When Vhils was 13, he was already an illegal graffiti maker, influenced by where he grew up. By 17, he had turned a vandal by his own admission. He started out by carving billboards in the streets of Lisbon and turned them into art. Since his younger days, he has remained practical, walking the thin line between thinking and doing. According to him, the more you think, the less you do.
Vhils creations are gaining recognition the world over. His solo show ‘Ethereal’ was displayed inside Wynwood Walls in the GGA Gallery in Miami, Florida, USA, the first solo show in this gallery. It consisted of 24 of his works. In his home country too, he presented his work titled ‘Olhar’ (Gaze) to the head office of Portuguese newspaper, ‘Publico’. This work consists of 25 superimposed acrylic sheets that form a composition with an eye in its center. The art represents 25 years of the publication and displays clippings from 25 of the daily’s most significant front pages.
Vhils aims at making things better with his art, the reason why he loves to take them apart. His focus on destroying to create has given him a unique identity as a street artist. He credits the internet for the recognition he enjoys today. On Instagram alone, he has a viewership of over 360,000 followers.