Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Vhils on 5th St.

November 2014 vs. July 2019.

- Vhils' Cincinnati mural in Nov. 2014.

In 2011, Street artist Vhils (Alexandre Farto) was commissioned to create the above mural at 301 W. 5th St. in Cincinnati. The artist used a drill and chisel to ply away at the plaster and other materials in order to create the piece. The man who appeared on the wall—emerging out of hours of meticulous detailing—is Tim Dwight, President of a local jewelry company in nearby Covington. The use of a local subject and distinct visual style are hallmarks of an artist whose work can be found all over the world, but no longer in Cincinnati.

Eight years later, the mural has now been debased.

Word is that the wall needed to be stabilized, hence why the piece was seemingly covered with fresh concrete. Whatever the reason, I find the whole thing a bit disheartening—a physical representation of some frustrations I've been feeling about Cincinnati the last few years.

In spite of recent events, though, elements of the work still shine through. The art hasn't been totally defeated, even if that sentiment doesn't totally make up for a perceived loss.

Vhils will be featured in an exhibition at the Contemporary Arts Center in Spring 2020.

Update | Dec. 9, 2019:
  • Vhils returned to Cincinnati and put together a new mural as part of BLINK 2019. The below photograph has been posted with the permission of the talented (and awesome) 5chw4r7z. Check out his blog and Flickr page. 


  1. There's a story about this in the Enquirer today. It says the building owner was cited by the city and had no choice but to make repairs to the wall. :(

    1. Yeah (shoutout to the awesome Cameron Knight (a former QC/D contributor) who reported on it!). My question, though, is did the mural need to be covered up? Maybe it did? Maybe it didn't? Either way, I'm just a bit disappointed that no one seemed to realize the significance of this work.

  2. So you backed off the City of Zero Vhils.

    1. Ha, I watched a few interviews with him and heard the pronunciation a few different way. Plus, it looks like we won't be with zero Vhils for long once he returns in Spring 2020.