Here at Ford, we know our models are more than just models, and we like to showcase their hidden talents and passions whenever possible. That’s why we found ourselves in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood on a blustery Sunday afternoon watching Ford Men’s Mihaly making a graffiti mural on the back of a movers truck. Between breaks, we spoke with Mihaly about how he came to love graffiti and his affinity for clowns.
Read through the interview below and click through the gallery to see Mihaly’s process. For additional images and info, visit peladanyc.com.
Ford Models: How were you introduced to street art? What do you enjoy about it?
Mihaly Martins: I actually started on my own out of mere curiosity and will to express myself through art. I started painting clowns as a funny critique of society. Graffiti has its genius way of exposing itself freely and almost, in an innocent way, taking over an empty or abandoned space and transforming it into art.
FM: Are there any artists in particular that you idolize?
MM: Well I wouldn’t say idolize, but there are definitely a few artists who I admire and inspire my work. From known artists like Van Gogh, Klimt, Keith Haring and Dali to modern day painters deriving from street art: Roa, Flavio Rossi, Hyper, Os Gemeos and Dalata.
FM: What’s your favorite piece of art of all time?
MM: One I havent been inspired by yet!
FM: What does your process typically entail?
MM: Well, it depends on the project. It seems pretty simple – you basically have to choose what and where your “canvas” is going to be, and paint it! The hard part is not getting caught or having authorization, the rest is just having inspiration and the right material for the situation!
FM: Speaking of, what’s the riskiest situation you’ve ever been in because of street art, if there have been any?
MM: There are different kinds of risks. The risk of going to jail even if you’re just “revisualizing abandoned spaces” (I like to put it that way), or there’s the risk of falling from rooftops or just any high spot! In that case I’ve been in both situations.
FM: What was the inspiration behind the imagery you created today?
MM: This butterfly with the drawers is something that came out a few years ago. I’ve been throwing it up sometimes. I like the idea of wings; they give a sense of free spirit. The drawers represent each compartment and each personal struggle we should overcome in order to be free. I think New York needs that.
FM: Do you think the worlds of modeling and street art overlap? Or are they completely separate?
MM: I think everything is connected – the streets are reality, what’s really happening! Fashion is the business of creating an interpretation of the different styles of day-to-day life, so each person can have access to the clothes and goods that fit their “reality”.
Working as a model actually puts me in a funny situation where I work in fashion but I’m living and painting the streets around the world. It gives me a lot of inspiration and understanding from both extremes!
FM: Is there a specific tag that you use for all of your work?
MM: VaoVivE! Its a charity project I have where we promote social change through arts and sports! And sometimes I’ll sign my name too.
FM: Are there any upcoming projects that we should know about?
MM: I’m putting together a show in New York this fall, and there’s a few good things coming up in Paris and Sao Paulo!
For now just look out for clowns and butterflies.