Vilx, Vilks, VxMu, (he goes by all of those names) is a talented French artist based in Montreal, Canada, since a few years ago. His perfect control of graffiti mediums permits him to work on multiple surfaces. Walls, trains, canvas… he is comfortable painting everywhere and feels free to express his art without any restrictions. This artist has a lot to say. You can feel it when you are in front of one of his artworks, whether it’s a commissioned mural, or an illegal piece you might be lucky to find on a freight train. So, I would prefer to let him talk about his art rather than do it myself!…
I am BadVilx.
I try to paint what people do not want to see. Ah, here’s something original! It sure does not sell very well, and anyway, I do not sell anything. I try to be and to stay honest, even if I have to wash windows to live … and I’ve washed a lot of windows. I paint what I see, what I want to represent, and certainly not what people want to see: poverty, exclusion, violence, real life, are all what I want to paint uptown. And in less attractive areas in fact…
I don’t like community walls. This is really a tiring thing … For me it’s like propaganda. It’s like TV, advertising … the false dream … bad joke … I don’t watch it ..It destroys art, artists…. So I prefer to draw, with my morning coffee, the skulls crushed under the wheels of a locomotive in black and white, with a smile on my face.
I am black duck Vilx, I am not happy.
Graffiti has become very accessible … equipment, street … Anyone can paint anything on the boulevards with 94, we can paint clean stuff with our eyes closed … I hadn’t yet started in 1980, but when I began, spray paint was more toxic, if you wanted to paint something clean, you had to not give up … to develop technical innovation … And sometimes it shocks me to see that despite all the new equipment, the first graffiti artists were painting terribly crazy stuff, much more crazy than most current artists … colours, fades, it breathed talent, the power to do shit with two damn cans of spray paint. Where did it all go??? And guys are proud now!
Disgusted, I went to trains…. Like an old dog that runs away from the city. In a train yard it’s just … tranquility. Sincerity. The beauty of the movement, the texture. Just fun … pleasure … it becomes like therapy … a homecoming. Nothing better than a good nap in the grass after painting a train.
Then I thought, if I only paint trains, I want to do it well. Often a train is already beautiful, (there is more life on the train’s metal than in my own life) I have to respect it. There are many painters of trains … but I want to do more advanced shit, thinking, really saying something with more meaning, more lives than the guys who will paint a wall for 4 days on a legal framework. I want to do more. I could do the same thing indefinitely for years, which would help me save a lot of time, but I have to do something new every time … I don’t want a concept that works and stands above the rest, I want thousands.
I want people who read my autobiography to look at everything all the way to the end without ever feeling “déjà vu”. I want to do more, to see how far I can push the thing … I have only one life.”
Photos by Aline Mairet and by/courtesy of Vilx