As we draw closer to the new year we’ve asked a very special guest every day to take a moment to reflect on 2018 and to tell us about one photograph that best captures the year for them. It’s a box of treats to surprise you with every day – and conjure our hopes and wishes for 2019. This is our way of sharing the sweetness of the season and of saying ‘Thank You’ to you for inspiring us throughout the year.
Today’s special guest:
Joe Russo, Brooklyn-born former graffiti writer now photographer, Joe captures Street Art, celebrities, big name music heroes, and entertainment portraits ..always on a relentless pursuit to capture the raw energy, beauty, and emotion of everything he shoots.
I first met and photographed Portuguese Graffiti / Street Artist Alexandre “VHILS” Farto on July 11, 2018 in New York City. He was in town to release a special limited edition artist label Hennessy bottle. While here, the good folks at L.I.S.A. Project had lined up a wall at 140 Elizabeth Street for him to create / install his latest mural. The subject of the mural is of the late RUN DMC Jam Master Jay’s son TJ Mizell as part of his ‘Scratching The Surface’ project.
To understand VHILS’ process is something to be seen in person. Using a myriad of power tools, chemicals, chisels, hammers and sometimes even pryotechnics / explosives, he carves through and peels back layer upon layer of brick, stucco, plaster, etcetera to reveal his latest subject matter. The artist believes that ‘destruction is a form of construction’.
I am almost inclined to believe that this philosophy is being mirrored and applied currently in the political chaos that we here as Americans are currently enduring and trudging through…after all of the chaos, digging and probing; when the dust settles…what beauty, infrastructure, message, will be revealed.
Photographer: Joe Russo
Location: Manhattan, NYC
Date: July 2018