The Portuguese artist Alexandre Farto, who signs as Vhils, is one of nine urban artists who produced works for an auction in London in favor of the Movember Foundation that works in the area of mental health and suicide prevention.
In partnership with the Sotheby’s auctioneer, the initiative was led by artist and gallery Dean Stockton, best known for D * Face, whose pop art murals are compared to the style seen on Roy Lichtenstein’s canvases.
“In its essence, urban art has always tried to break down physical and social barriers. In the same way, I fully believe that Urban Art has the capacity to break the social stigma of men’s mental health and break this invisible border that makes men keep the problems to themselves, “he said, quoted in a statement.
Stockton reveals that artists like him often suffer from problems such as isolation and loneliness, and that urban art can be a catalyst for the debate on men’s mental health.
His work, titled “Comfort the Loners,” which portrays two male figures in close-up, intends to address the issue head-on to inspire conversations among male friends about their mental well-being.
“So much can be achieved in a nutshell, someone just needs to start the conversation,” he said.
Vhils contributes with “Babel Series # 10”, a work made from posters glued to one another, and in which the artist has carved features that, together, form a human eye.
The piece has an estimated sale value between 6,000 and 8,000 pounds (6,743 to 8,991 euros).
“Vhils uses placards found on the streets, which he carves in captivating portraits of people.” With his contribution to the Movember solidarity group, he put the spotlight on an anonymous observer, perhaps referring to the need to ‘keep an eye ‘in the people around us, “commented Boris Cornelissen, assistant director of Sotheby’s and a specialist in contemporary art.
Born in 1987, Alexandre Farto grew up in Seixal, where he started painting graffiti walls and trains at the age of 13, and later studied Fine Arts at Central Saint Martins University in London.
He is reputed for the use of tools such as pneumatic hammers to ‘dig’ portraits on walls or exterior walls, having made interventions in Portugal, Thailand, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Italy, the United States, Ukraine, Macao and Brazil.
In addition to Vhils and D * Face, they have joined the initiative Shepard Fairey, Jonathan Yeo, Ben Eine, Alexis Diaz, Okuda, Felipe Pantone and Conor Harrington.
The works can be seen at the Sotheby’s gallery in London at the Contemporary Curated exhibition November 16-19, before being sold at the contemporary art auction to be held on November 20 in London. London, in parallel with an online auction that runs until the next day.
The Movember Foundation, whose name joins the words “mustache” and “November,” promotes a campaign every year during November, when supporters grow their mustaches to raise awareness of various aspects of men’s health, such as prostate and testicle cancer.