Saturday, July 18, 2009

Juxtapoz Brazil Issue July 2009

As I had mentioned in an earlier post..I recently saw that Juxtapoz Magazine was featuring a month with all Brazilian artist and sure enough I bought the magazine to read up on some of the big names in Brazilian street art. Ran into a few artist I have seen on the street in Rio as well as many new ones I hope to look further into. I chose a few to share.

Titi Freak- TFreak

I found this introduction about the artist Titi Freak pretty humorous so I wanted to share it -

Crawling out of the womb holding a pencil, begin working for a well-known Brazilian comic book company at age 13. Experiment with every material available and you too could have a resume like Titi Freak.

BUT- I do really like his work. He was the only artist in this issue that I am positive I have seen his work somewhere in Rio. I believe he has a dragon similar to the style of these fish right by this tunnel between Rocinha and Barra da Tijuca. I was thinking about on my drive into the city on Sautday and sure enough it was still there.

Here are a few quotes from the interview I found inspirational.

Sempre meaning always represents the desire of maintaining myself as I am now, always working and going after my dreams, always with my heart light and open, always with love, always preserving my character in order to continue growing. It is a way of saying that we will always be learning.

Finding new ways is a consequence of what the person is searching for. I believe that experimenting and adapting lead to different solutions and other ways of creating new languages. Seeing different things, spending time in other places, experiencing other cultures, meeting different people, or simply taking a break from what you usually do is something different.

The interview also brought up something I recently discovered about Sao Paulo, the largest city in Brazil. (home to more than 20 million) I recently started reading a book about Brazil and it had talked about Sao Paulo having the largest Japanese population outside of Japan. I found this rather interesting because most would not suspect this at all. This artist happens to be Japanese and Brazilian. The question was asked: You were born in Liberdade (the Japan quarter of Sao Paulo), married a Japanese woman, and are going to live in Japan for a while. Do you have an interest in preserving your Japanese tradition?

I don’t think my background will ever be completely Japanese. Only part of my ancestors are Japanese, and I was born in Brazil. Even though I live in the Japanese quarter and experienced a little of that with my grandparents, my culture and traditions are Brazilian. My wife comes from a Japanese family but she was born in Brazil. When she was only three months old she went back to Japan. Her culture is completely different from the Japanese culture of Brazil.

I grew up watching Japanese heroes such as Ultra Man, Ultra Sever, and Dragonball. I used to draw all of them. My artwork evolved while I was watching Akira by Katsuriro Otomo, and other artists such as Yoshitomo Nara and Usugrow. All these things got me closer to the Japanese culture, I was able to see and experience it from different angles. In 2007 when I spent some time in Japan, I could see in the flesh what I only knew from magazines. I learned a lot from spending time with my family there and observing the culture. I got very connected to the Japanese graffiti and art scene. This year I am going to spend three months to paint the cities and stay with family and meet my Japanese friends again. I am just worried about keeping united; if we stay united, we preserve the tradition.

Did I mention he was champion yo-yo player?

Bruno 9LI

His work explores cultural miscegenation and spiritual conditions, as well as the rites of passage of African tribes into a contemporary setting with popular culture symbols.

Acrylic and India ink on paper
20.5” x 27.5”

I believe that competitiveness is inside anyone who breathes that sort of energy. I mean, if you don’t let all the feelings that come along with competition get to you, you just don’t take part in it. I’m always searching for the mystery that makes me wake up and work for many hours drawing and painting. Those who like the vibration of my work have the sensibility to read the cartography of my mind and share a vision with me. There’s no rivalry in that. Competition seems to be something related only to business, dealers, and galleries.

I just keep my eyes to the future. There’s a structure, an order to follow, but a mystery between lines and codes. For me, to be innovative means to risk the unknown, I believe that is the way to be a productive artist.

Bruno is based out of Porte Alegre, which is in the southern most part of Brazil. From what I have read about the area and heard, it is very nice and heavily influenced by the Europeans. There is a large German population there. I was darn to his work because his color palette and imagery. At times his work is overwhelming because there are so many things going on but on a few of his pieces I notice how he uses pattern to draw the viewer towards a focal point which are typically African and South American masks. I chose a few quotes from the interview I read about his work. I enjoyed hearing his thoughts in regards to the competitive nature of the “art world” which is something I often think about.

Sesper- Sesper Blog

Sesper is one of the most important names in Brazilian underground art. He is currently finishing up his debut documentary about skateboard art in Brazil. He is a graphic designer for several skateboard magazines and brands. He creates collages that reveal years of collecting magazines, pictures, mail envelopes, and other materials. In keeping with his wish that his reconfigured memories be conserved forever, the final result of his work is heavy and thick, pervaded with strong meanings, the glued traces of Sesper’s insane mind.

Those of you who know me, know how much I love working with different materials and collage is something that never is boring to me. Any chance to experiment with materials I’ll take and Sesper’s collages are really exciting to me. I am particularly drawn to the piece Kids: Playground @ 2034. The use of the stables is interesting and just add to the mood of the piece. His interview talked a lot about his influence on American culture particularly the 80s of music, art, and skateboarding. I chose on question from his interview to share pertaining to his feelings toward American culture.

Kids: Playground @ 2034 (detail)
Paper, found objects, and acrylic.

How do you feel about American culture?

Some people told me that I wouldn’t want to come back and I have to agree. I had a really cool time in California in such a short period of 22 days, I just went to LA and SF, but I don’t think these two cities represent the real America.

What I really hate in America is that there are too many laws and rules. I think that’s why there are so many serial killers. It must drive people crazy. The violence and racial issues make me freak out a little.

Because we grew up in a total macho Latin society, SF is interesting. There is a lot of respect and tolerance for all kinds of people and credos. If someone beats you up in Brazil and you try to get help from a cop, maybe they’ll definitely treat you like a sissy. I just hung out at punk shows and skate spots for 22 days, listening to all the accents from all over the earth. To be honest, sometimes I had to see an American flag to remind me that I was in the USA.

The trash produced in the cities scared me too. I don’t know why but I think we produce less trash for some reason

Mommy Amerikkka
Paper, found objects, and acrylic.
260 cm x 260 cm

I hope to add a few more so check back later in the week.

PS- For those of you wondering. I arrived safetly in Brazil and am now in the process of figuring out what is next here. Pretty exciting. I have a few funny stories to share already but I will safe these for a later post!! :o)

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