Wheatpaste by Vhils

artist VHILS

Whestpaste by Vhils. Photo by Steve Weinik.

About this Project 

The Portuguese street artist Vhils visited Philadelphia to visit with one of our art education classes and create a mural in Center City. Vhils is known for his portraits and cityscapes that involve either carving into walls or cutting away at layers of posters to reveal the faces of whatever city he is working in.

Mural Arts students pose for a photo during a visit to the mural installation. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Vhils’ visit, organized by our art education department, was squished in between his participation in a museum show in Oaxaca, Mexico and a mural festival at Azores, Portugal, but he still found time to work with our students. Vhils met with an emerging muralist class at YESPhilly, where he projected a stencil of one of his portraits onto parachute cloth and the students painted in the image.

Vhils and his two assistants also wheatpasted a mural on Drury Street. Wheatpasting is a process of applying posters to a wall using glue make from wheat mixed in water. But Vhils does more than just stick up posters. He and his team first wheatpasted a layer of collaged photographs from the Temple Urban Archives, and then covered that with a layer of white paper. Then they cut and tore away at both layers of paper to reveal some of the photos and some of the wall. The cutting and tearing was done precisely to create images of a face, a Phillies logo and geometric patterns from the contrasting colors of the white paper and the photos and wall underneath.

Installation of the mural. Photo by Steve Weinik.


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