During my first 6 months in Rio, my journey to work took me past the long wall that runs opposite Jardim Botânico. This wall is covered with some of Rio’s finest graffiti and because I passed it every day I was soon familiar with every piece on the wall.
As well as recognising the individual works, after a while I started to recognise the characters and styles of the different artists too. One of my favourites was a guy called Toz (real name Tomaz Viana) and the collective he was part of, the Fleshbeck Crew.
Toz (sounds like ‘Toyzh’) has been in the news a lot recently – his enormous work in the port area of Rio deservedly gained a lot of attention.
But I wanted to tell you about another piece of Toz’s work. I was wandering through Gávea about 6 months ago when I saw this:
The bold colours were really nice, but I wondered what had inspired this strange new character with its head hidden by a hundred brightly coloured balls? The clue was in the title.
O Vendedor de Alegria
As well as this work in Gávea, Toz had created other works that included this character. After some internet searching I discovered that this was all part of an exhibition titled O Vendedor da Alegria (Seller of Happiness).
Hmmm, who sells happiness? Those of you with dirty minds will probably be thinking seedy thoughts right now! However, the answer can be found at the beach:
And in case the cynics among you think that these guys don’t bring happiness to kids today (who are apparently only interested in video games and technology), here’s proof that some kids are still delighted by this vendor’s wares:
Toz has a book coming out next week that will be showcasing and explaining his works – I for one will be hunting it down!