Scratched Wall Mural by Vhils

Scratched Wall Mural by Vhils

Back in April, Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, a.k.a. Vhils, visited the Cincinnati metro area and created this scratched wall mural on the side of Mainstay Rock Bar on 5th St. downtown.

The artist carved into the wall using a drill and chisel, exposing the brick beneath the plaster to create a large-scale portrait. Actually, someone told me that he put plaster on the wall so that he could then remove parts of it to create this image. I hope it’s not true — that would be so contrived. Does anyone know whether or not this was done?

Scratched Wall Mural by Vhils

Scratched Wall Mural by Vhils

The subject is Tim Dwight, president of Motch Jewelers in Covington, KY.

Tim Dwight

The London-based artist’s work is inspired by the faces of ordinary people in the communities he visits. For more, check out his site and also this interview on Urban Artcore.

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10 thoughts on “Scratched Wall Mural by Vhils

  1. Yep, it was bare brick, they had a construction company come in a couple days in advance and plaster it.
    Not only did they have a drill and jackhammer but they were going at it with regular hammers too.
    I’m torn about the subject, but I guess its cool that as streetart they picked a random Cincinnatian (even if he’s from Covington) for the portrait.

  2. I think it’s kind of cool that a regular person was turned into a quasi-celebrity in this way [I’d be curious to know the criteria involved!]. It’s got to be the most random, indirect advertising for a local business ever.

    I do think that covering up the wall with plaster in order to then remove it is a bit silly. I guess I misunderstood the artist’s process — I thought he was more of an urban archeologist, uncovering layers that had been hidden for years.

  3. Your thoughts about his process are really interesting to me. I knew the wall was first plastered and didn’t think anything of it, because adding and removing layers has been a staple in the tradition of drawing and painting.

    It didn’t cross my mind that he could have been removing a layer added long before he arrived to reveal a piece of history that had been masked and forgotten.

    Now that you’ve mentioned it, I like the directness, lack of control, exploration and surprise inherent in that approach. Perhaps you should propose a process tweak.

  4. Yeah, people love when you tell them how to do their job better! Unfortunately, though my idea is cool, I think it would severely limit the walls he could use, so his strategy does make sense.

  5. Wow, this is really cool! I’d love to be able to watch the artist at working on this, since I can’t really picture how this was done.

  6. This is a really awesome piece of art, and who cares whose face it is? (I don’t think Mona Lisa was a local owner of a mid-sized pizza chain). Also, if the plaster isn’t there, how does he get the contrast needed to achieve the finished result? I think maybe it’s better not to question, but to appreciate…..

  7. Amy, I completely agree with you — it’s a great piece of public art, and knowing the subject adds another layer of meaning to the whole thing. I definitely found that bit of information interesting — that it’s not someone famous or extraordinary, but a local citizen and business owner.

    As for my comment about the particulars of the process — I was surprised to learn that the artist wasn’t simply removing existing plaster, but plastering the wall first and then removing parts. I guess that’s not what I’d expected, and I thought that others may be surprised to learn that.

    In my humble opinion, it’s good to question and appreciate.

  8. If a traditional muralist began by painting their “canvas,” the brick wall, with a stabilizing layer of black or white would anyone consider the resulting painting illegitimate in any way? Yeah, didn’t think so. I love this work of art.

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