The crew and I went to Lisbon, Portugal in 2017, where I opened a show at Underdogs Gallery and painted three murals, including a collaboration with Vhils – one of my favorite artists and the owner of the Underdogs Gallery. For anyone who’s never been there, Lisbon is an extraordinarily beautiful city. The architecture, the cobblestone streets, the ceramic tiles, and the wrought-iron balconies have more than enough charm by themselves to be a great reason to visit Lisbon. When you add the contemporary murals, many of which have been facilitated by the Underdogs crew, Lisbon is a must-see for any connoisseur of aesthetics throughout the ages. We were lucky to be met with great weather, and the murals came together pretty quickly thanks to the help from my hardworking crew Dan Flores, Rob Zagula, and Nicholas Bowers.
Since we finished the murals quickly, it was useful to have a little bit of time to refine the collaboration with Vhils which was a very fun, organic process, where I painted my half of the mural and some background elements for his half, and he then chiseled his portrait including a small amount of overlap with my image. I love Vhils’s work because of the texture and depth but also because I like the idea of creation and destruction occurring simultaneously. Our mural features two women merging who are from different cultural backgrounds but have a common humanity. I think the aesthetics and the concept of the mural came together powerfully and I’m proud and honored to collaborate with Vhils, who I think does beautiful and thoughtful work.
I also painted two other murals where I used the motif of the flower in the gun, a peace symbol inspired by war protestors putting flowers in the barrels of the National Guards guns during the Vietnam War era protests. I was happy that a symbolic motif that I’ve used in my work had a historical connection to the 1974 bloodless Carnation Revolution in Portugal, which ended a dictatorship and established democracy.
The show at Underdogs was nice and crowded, and I really enjoyed meeting so many friendly and enthusiastic people during the opening. The Underdogs crew did an amazing job producing the art show and facilitating the mural walls. Thanks to Vhils and the whole Underdogs family – Alex, Pauline, Raul, Duarte, Diana, Mariana, Sara, Pando. And of course, thank you to Jon Furlong for capturing the trip with these photos. I look forward to visiting Portugal again someday!