Portraits Chiseled in Stone – The Urban Reliefs of Alexandre Farto

Portuguese street artist Alexandre Farto, aka Vhils, is an extremely versatile creative, best known for his large-scale portraits that are chiseled into walls all over the world.

The life of a street artist can be like a hide and seek game. Often the works are created under the guise of night. Gray facades get a new coat of paint in the dark. But why apply paint when there is art already inside the wall, just waiting to be excavated. Farto used to spray walls until he fundamentally changed his approach in the mid-2000s.

Instead of painting over what he does not like, he has begun to reveal what is inside. Like an urban archaeologist he exposes what is hidden under the façade. His groundbreaking bas-relief carving technique has been hailed as one of the most compelling approaches to art created in the streets in the last decade.

Farto, born in 1987, has created a distinctive visual language centered on the removal of the top layers of wall surfaces along with other media with non-conventional techniques and tools, developing emblematic reflections on identity, life within the urban context, the passing of time, as well as the connection of men and women and the surrounding environment.

His innovative chiselling method has been met with critical acclaim. Since 2005 he has been presenting his work around the globe in solo and collective exhibitions, art events, institutions, and site-specific interventions. He has also taken part in some of the most prestigious contemporary and urban art projects.