Inspiration

Vhils

Maybe the only good thing about Brexit is that world-renowned artist Vhils is bringing his Festival Iminente to London before we leave. A very, very affordable weekend of brilliant music and art, it’ll be at the Truman Brewery from July 28th and we caught up with him about it.

Hey Vhils, how’s it going? What’s going on at Festival Iminente? 
I’m good! I’m really excited to be returning to London with this amazing project. This festival is a selection of some of the best Portuguese and European urban-inspired artists and musicians who, through their respective languages, perfectly illustrate the potential of art and music to bring together people from different cultures and origins. They’re all working hard together as equals to create something unique that will be revealed at the opening. The idea was to bring to London the same model of festival we organised last year in Portugal, showcasing the best of the new art and music from Portugal and Europe as a celebration of resistance and diversity in face of this age of polarisation and division. Also, London gave me so much when I lived there, that you can see this as me trying to give something back in return at this particular moment in European history.

How did this show come about? 
It started last year in Portugal. I was invited to organise and curate a music and art festival by the municipality of Oeiras, outside Lisbon, that was both innovative and accessible to all. The result was a three-day feast with some of my favourite artists, musicians and performers. It was such fun that we immediately started thinking of taking it to other places. London just made sense due to my personal connection with the city and the fact that the UK is going through such a critical moment. I felt it deserved a much-needed boost to show you guys that despite the Brexit divorce drama we can still be best mates!

How long did it take you to curate?
It took us some nine months to set the festival up in London, including selecting and inviting the artists and musicians, dealing with logistics and contacts, organising and producing the whole thing. We started working on this straight after the festival’s first edition in Portugal, last September.

Why’s it so cheap!? £2 a ticket is brilliant!
To make it accessible to everyone. It’s a big effort to bring all of these people together, with a huge contribution by the artists and musicians. We believe that purchasing power shouldn’t act as a filter and stop people from joining this celebration of European urban culture.

What work are you doing for it? Have you got a massive bit of concrete to chisel?
I’ll be showing a large concrete sculpture and will also probably create a sculpture in wood. I’ve also designed the tokens for the festival!

Where can we see more of your work?
You can start by checking outdoor locations around the world on my website map. I’ve done several wall pieces in London over the years but I’m not sure how many of these are still up. I work with Lazarides gallery in London, so you can check them out too. You can always follow what I’m doing through my Facebook and Instagram accounts.

Get your Festival Iminente tickets here