Introducing artist – VIRUS from Portugal – No masks required
Don’t worry, this is not another message telling you to wear a mask and keep one-meter distance! The graffiti artist and illustrator VIRUS from Portugal is far from any kind of illness. At only twenty-six years of age, you wouldn’t think that it is possible for such a young artist to have such a wide spectrum of styles. But he does! And he also has the technical skills to match them. With obvious influence from typography and fonts, VIRUS moves freely around his visual sphere. His graffiti, a tasteful mix of illustration, graphic design, and style writing are more than easy on the eye. While his studio artworks are up there with the best of them. Residing in his hometown of Porto in Portugal, this young man is no stranger to travel and adventure. Which is no set back when nearly every piece you do is trying to charter new ground. From classic graffiti style writing to the most graphic of abstract forms, his artwork is striking and well placed. Not only fitting into the traditional horizontal formats of a graffiti space.
Color is also no problem. Two tones or one hundred, the images he creates do justice to all the colors he has chosen to create them. As does the scale. Not just the literal size of the works, but the proportions of the designs created within them. To get a clearer understanding of what makes VIRUS tick, we used the opportunity for a quick chat on his recent visit to Germany. This is what he had to say.
MC- Apart from the obvious practical reasons, like nice letters, not too long a word, etc., does the use of the word VIRUS have any significant meaning as your artistic identity?
VIRUS- I believe it represents the mentality of a graffiti writer, a bacterium that quickly spreads through the body. Well, in this case, a strange body to society that spreads his work throughout the world. A curious factor is that virus is the only type of bacteria that is self-sufficient to grow, I also think this can relate to a graffiti writer’s mentality.
MC- A lot of Europeans are quick to use their countries economic status as a reason for them being where they are as a professional, does being Portuguese and living there make being an artist more difficult in your opinion?
VIRUS- I believe in the past few years the situation is becoming a bit better with companies and city council-initiated projects happening. Even though this is good, there are too many writers and painters to fit the few events or jobs. Unfortunately, in the middle/lower class personal or business commissions, the budgets are very low. Long story short, it’s a struggle to thrive as an artist in Portugal until you have established yourself.
MC- How did you get into graffiti and when?
VIRUS- The year was 2007, I was only 12 years when I painted graffiti for the first time. I didn’t know anybody who did it, I just saw it on the streets, and it looked cool. One day I stole two cans of paint from a Chinese store and did my first piece on the street. This was also my first robbery, so, I was set on my way to street life.
MC- Do you have a favorite place or type of surface to paint?
VIRUS- Yes, the one that comes next. I believe that is what makes graffiti stand out from other types of painting. Graffiti has the characteristic to adapt to any format, landscape, situation, theme, or surface.
MC- What was the biggest influence on you growing up, Portuguese graffiti, the art from another country, or other regions all together?
VIRUS- My first big influences were Seen, the godfather, and the big bombing scenario happening in Porto’s early 2000’s. Then my eyes turned into the international scene, amazed by the German and French design of letters. At some point in my career, I decided to burn bridges and thrive with something completely different. So nowadays I believe anything can be inspirational, from magazine covers to building architecture.
MC- You’re still at the start of your art-making career, where would you hope to be in five, ten, or twenty years?
VIRUS- Personal Jet flying over the Bahamas with 1 pound of powder and 40 naked sensual assistants on my way to make a commission for God himself, the guy wants the moon with a big penis painted in red. Well, whatever you say pall, as long as I get the money right? Now talking seriously, I believe if I can support myself and do my art freely for the rest of my life, I can ask no more.
MC- Do you have any current projects on going?
VIRUS- Currently I am working on an online 3D exhibition where you will be able to walk through and see (without getting out of your seat), graffiti in his natural habitat. This will come out alongside my website launch as a worldwide vernissage. Apart from that, I am working on some studio material for 2 upcoming exhibitions, one in Lisbon and one in Porto.
MC- Which spray paint do you prefer and why? Any favorite caps? Any favorite color tone?
VIRUS- Taking the risk of sounding tendentious, by far my favorite is Montana BLACK. The feel, quality of pigment, pressure control of the can are just tuned right. Mixed with the yellow universal cap or the Montana level 3 skinny it is just perfect. With the colors,i usually like that pastel taste in my piece. I don’t really have any colour as a favorite, I believe combos are the deal!