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vile Sanchez New York visual artist dj music producer
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Visual artist Vile Sánchez is the fetish cyber goth from another planet


TextDominic Cadogan

The Colombian-born, New York-based DJ and music producer is pushing their artistic limitations to connect with their true persona

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“I take a lot of elements from things that I love when I’m creating my looks, all of those things and references can tell you bits or a lot about my personality and the things I enjoy,” explains visual artist Vile Sánchez on their unique aesthetic. 

Describing it as “fetish, cyber, goth”, the New-York based creative was inspired by the city’s nightlife scene when he moved there from Medellín, Colombia six years ago. “I start experimenting with make-up and developing my persona, which led to the creation of the face paintings I do today,” they say. Graphic, glittering, and cyborgian, Sánchez’s creations look like they’ve beamed straight in from the year 3020. 

Though their striking appearance is a big part of their creative expression, music has also created a new means of exploration. “I wanted to make sounds that could connect and complement the vision I had already created, which would allow me to push my project further,” they say. This recently manifested in the form of their first music video, “Diatom X”, that sees them transform into a variety of futuristic characters over dark, thumping techno. 

Here, we speak with Sánchez about the beauty of Colombia, relating to Marla from Fight Club, and why we should all look like Rosy Maple moths. 

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?

Vile Sánchez: I come from the second main city in Colombia, Medellín, a city surrounded by mountains, full of green areas and stunning landscapes, a city filled with art and an amazing queer scene that has been growing super fast throughout the years. I always describe Medellín as a small Brooklyn because of its artsy vibe and underground scene. It was the city that inspired me and allowed me to play with the way I looked when I was growing up and used to dress up and go out with my friends to very trashy bars and goth raves. 

What is it you do and how did you get into it?

Vile Sánchez: I’m a visual artist, DJ, and music producer. Art and music are things that I recall being very present throughout my life since I was a kid – I could describe each phase of my life with images or a soundtrack. These two things have always been my medium to encapsulate what I was feeling at the things that I was going through. I went to college to study graphic design in Colombia and hated it because of its artistic limitations, but it did give me the basic knowledge about creative software that I needed to continue learning on my own. 

What are you trying to communicate through your work and why?

Vile Sánchez: I want to show my individuality through my work. I’ve always looked up to movie directors because their art has such a pure energy of what they represent as beings, we get to hear them in their soundtracks, know what’s going through their minds in their stories, and see their vision on every frame. I think the more involved the director is, the more beautiful the piece is. I’d love to get there one day and be able to create pieces where I can put together everything I’ve learned along the way. 

Who or what inspires you? 

Vile Sánchez: I’m very inspired by music, films, space, technology, nightlife. I could spend hours in my room playing techno and visiting exoplanets on my VR headset and that’s when I’m the happiest and get the most ideas.

Can you talk us through some of your favorite beauty looks and how you created them?

Vile Sánchez: The Flame - I always thought the presence of fire is so scary but so powerful, so I was very inspired by that and decided to paint flames on my face. In order to combine that with the aesthetic that I was doing, I decided to invert the colors in some parts of the face using geometric shapes. 

The Crow - I wanted to create a look inspired by Howl, the character from Howl’s Moving Castle when he turns into a crow, so I spoke to my partner and gave him the concept so he could sketch the face. We always create art for each other and I wanted to paint a look created by him. I made the headpiece and painted the face, then photographed it with Brian Vu; Brian directed the shoot and created three of my favourite images from everything I’ve done.

V1l3 - This one is a collaboration with photographer Bogdan Stanga and designer Levi Campello. I wanted to make a red, glittery make-up look with many different textures on the face. I spoke to Bogdan and he showed me this crazy corset designed by Levi that looked like flesh and I was obsessed so we set up the shoot and created one of my favourite looks – Bogdan and Levi are amazing. 

What’s been your career highlight so far and what do you hope to accomplish ultimately?

Vile Sánchez: The highlight of my career is my music video “Diatom X”. It was the first time I got to work on a big project with my partner and best friend, Jander Franco, and it was also the biggest project I’ve done so far. The making of it was very magical,  since we filmed in my hometown with a bunch of friends; I hope I get to make more videos for my new music very soon.

What does beauty mean to you?

Vile Sánchez: Beauty is the essence of things that allow us to connect with them, whether it’s sounds or images, when I see or hear something beautiful I feel like I’m absorbed in it, beautiful things have this energy that almost feels like a soul we can relate to. It’s so relative, but the things we find beautiful are the ones that we curate unconsciously, we build our personalities, relationships, and aesthetics around them. 

What’s your favorite smell and why?

Vile Sánchez: I love the smell of Frankincense, there is a very peaceful feeling when you burn it.

Which fictional character do you most relate to and why?

Vile Sánchez: I always loved Marla Singer from Fight Club. Messy, always looking for love and attention in all the wrong places, broken, but she always looked so good and I think I can relate a little bit to all of that. 

When do you feel most beautiful?

Vile Sánchez: When I get to have tons of time to chill and paint. When I’m getting ready for a club, I don’t have much time, but when I’m painting for myself there’s no time limit, so I get to do more details and truly enjoy being it.  

How do you want to change the world?

Vile Sánchez: I hope my work inspires other people to create. Creative energy is so important in order to know each other and attract like-minded beings. I believe we are more happy when we are surrounded by people that inspire us and when we find that kind of joy we are more likely to truly understand and acknowledge other people’s feelings. 

You’re the editor of a time-travelling beauty journal 100 years from now, what beauty trends are you reporting on? 

Vile Sánchez: Cosmetic enhancement is a thing of the past! Cyborg implants to further your senses is what everyone is looking for.

If you had to choose one surgical enhancement, what would it be and why?

Vile Sánchez: I’ve always thought about changing my nose, but I learned to love it over time and then I realized that me wanting to change that was just one of the many things I had to unlearn about beauty standards. You can’t let other people decide what’s beautiful about you and what’s not, we need to find beauty in those features that make us different because that’s part of our individuality and what makes us special.

It is the sixth day and you are creating humans. They can look however you want them to. What do they look like and why?

Vile Sánchez: We all look like a Rosy Maple moth, they’re iconic. 

What is the future of beauty?

Vile Sánchez: Individuality.

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