The artwork I chose to reproduce done by Vhils is from his “Scratching the surface solo show”. Vhils’ motto has always been creating art through destruction i.e scratching on a wooden surface. I thought this piece would be perfect to demonstrate the theme Vhils tries to portray as well as, for the people to be reminded of an important matter.
Vhils’ work usually is surrounded by two themes. One being a propaganda or and act of movement. And the other is to show life and poetry through destruction. I chose to portray a propaganda piece of nature and environmental concern. The person I chose to display this act is an American architect Pietro Belluschi.
What inspired me to work on this piece is a quote Belluschi has stated. He mentioned “We never could design a building as beautiful as the trees”. I wanted to show that, us humans, destroy nature for our on greed and needs. We forget to repay what this wonderful planet has done for us and made it stable for us to live in. I have gathered a number of wooden logs and tree bark to engrave Belluchi’s portrait on. I wanted to show that each time we cut down a tree, the tree smiles back knowing there is life in the afterlife. I achieved imprinting Belluschi’s portrait by using a Dremel and chisels. I wanted to show how Vhils creates his artpiece via power tools.
I first intentionally wanted find a stomp or a dead tree out in the woods and carve my piece out in the nature. But given the circumstances I could not find or attach my dremel to an outlet. Thus, I’ve started by gathering dead pieces of wood from the canal and engrave my work in the studio. I’ve placed a plastic mat on the floor to contain the wood chips from shooting out in different directions. Before Vhils starts chipping away, he first projects the image onto the surface then begins scratching. I’ve done this step by drawing the images on a tracing paper and begin outlining it on the wood pieces. Of course at first I did not engrave Belluschi’s face rather started to practice my engraving with the dremel by carving portraits of random faces.
One important aspect of Vhils’ work is to expose layers of wood or concrete. He uses these layers both for art purposes, such as rendering, and the other to show creation via destruction. I’ve done so by carving into different sides and layers of the log by pulling of the bark or hacking into the wood with and axe. The outcome was successful and layers of the tree was visible. Next step, by using an axe I began to chop a chunk of the log to a specific size I measured to work on Belluschi’s portrait. I then created two piece, one by using the dremel and the other by chisel. I’ve also burned a one side of the wood to show more layers and began carving with needle head chisel. The final product is shown below.
The errors and problems working with dead wood is that it chips off really easily and I was not able to render the portraits to make it 3D. Also some parts of the wood was still wet and would peel off with made it hard to be stable and show the different layers. Other obstacles was engraving on the bark it self. The shell was really solid and hard to carve into. There were so many possibilities to work with the logs that I spent most of the time experimenting and exploring both the material and the power tools. I wish I had more time to practice more with wood carving and different types of wood i.e bamboo or materials made of wood such as doors or tables.
Source: “Work Detail / ALEXANDRE FARTO AKA VHILS.” Work Detail / ALEXANDRE FARTO AKA VHILS. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Jan. 2016. http://www.alexandrefarto.com/index.php?page=work-detail&work=4