Using Acid and Bleach, an Artist Scratches Giant Portraits into Old Buildings (Photos)


Photos Courtesy of Alexandre Farto

At TreeHugger, we're big fans of cities, where people come together to share resources and can do great things to reduce their impact on the planet. But cities can become faceless, dominated by towering gray walls and and loss of individuality. That's where Portuguese-born, London-based artist Vhils, aka Alexandre Farto, comes in. Spreading over Moscow, London, New York, Italy and Portugal, Vhils' project "Scratching the Surface" is a collection of giant portraits on unremarkable and decaying buildings, not painted on but actually scratched into the plaster.


The series, called "Scratching the Surface," is inspired by Lisbon's 1974 Carnation Revolution, and is remarkable for the way the works take rather depressing facades and re-contextualize them as canvases for superb art. Writing of Vhils' 2009 show at the Lazarides gallery in London, DesignBoom says:

The exhibition reflects on revolution as a time
when walls turn into instruments of communication and hope for the masses,
and the remnants of which become a decaying playground for this young artist
as he searches for his place and identity.


Vhils' work reminds us that even when urban settings are at their most depressing and decaying, they are still home to creative spirits who won't be stifled by their surroundings, who make cities worth living in.





Check out more of Vhils' work on his website.

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