SPETO
Brazilian street art

Interview with legendary brazilian street artist Speto.

When I interviewed Rodrigo Level, the brazilian street artist cited Speto as one of his influences. As a matter of fact, Speto is one the graffiti pioneer in Brazil. Nothing would have been the same without this guy who as been involved in the street art for the past 27 years. Who can beat that?
More about Speto.

speto portrait

Portrait of the brazilian street artist

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
I am Speto , I am 40 years old, I was Born in Sao Paulo City, and I have been doing graffiti over the past 27 years.

brazil graffiti

Black and white mural typical of Speto style

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
A lot of passion for Brazil and brazilian culture, especially The Cordel style. I portray things in a simple and playful way.
I mix several technics , I do graffiti like wood-carving and everything else as a reflection of how I see the world.

graphic design street art

Some artworks mix illustration and graffiti influences

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
I began graffiti in 1985 and in 1986 I started to do illustrations for Skate magazines and Record jacket’s . I had two different styles, My graffiti style was very traditional , hip hop based and my illustration style was a mix of everything else , like tattoos, wood carving prints etc- but it was only in 1999 that I
blended both styles. At this stage I was working for a brazilian band named O RAPPA, doing live painting performances during their concerts. I became very skilled and agile doing live pantings ( a concert had a 1:30 hours ) , my drawing was super bold, it needed to be sharp enough to be seeing from far distances – I travelled around Brazil painting for a public of more then 10.000 people at some concerts
and ended up doing more than 360 paintings in total – I’ve learnt so much from this period, from the live paintings. As I started working when Computers were not around, I learnt lots of technics in a classic way and I try to blend them very subtly. The artwork value is in it’s contents, in the capacity of arousing emotion and visual stimulus.
I always study and do lots of research , my mind is continuously painting and processing images.

speto colorful graffiti

Colorful and slick graffiti artwork

HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
I came from a neighborhood where the children would play freely on the streets- Riding their bicycles and skateboards , playing with kites ,lantern balloons … My grandfather was a Sambista (samba musician) , My uncle was a soccer player, my father used to sing and my
mother was extremely catholic . All those elements were very important through my childhood and youth. I am a self-taught artist , I did not go to school nor to the University. Graffiti was something completely new back then and there was no school other than the Streets .

speto urban art

Speto urban art

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
There are several , here is the list: Picasso, J.Borges, Samico, Portinari, Lucien Freud, Frida Kahlo, Diego Rivera, Ezra Jack Keats, Miroslav Sasek,Aubrey Beardsley,Richard Downs, Clayton Brothers, Guy Le tatto, Thomas Hooper,Posada, Hanna Barbera, Thunder Bird, Russian, tattoos, cartoons, posters, Muhammad Ali etc.

ANY LAST WORD?
Ciao Bello!

Pagina Invalida
Interview in Brazil

Mega interviewed in the Brazilian website Pagina Invalida.

A quite old interview with the great Brasilian website Pagina Invalida.

PAGINA INVALIDA

Mega is a French graphic. In the following interview he will tell us about the creative process behind his illustrations. He will also tell us about his future plans, including a potential trip to Brazil. Discover more about this creative figure.

kink magazine art direction for pagina invalida

Kink magazine was not only a cool and trendy publication. It was a platform to express our opinion on mainstream news and social issues

TELL US ABOUT YOUR ARTISTIC BACKGROUND, WHERE DOES YOUR NAME COME FROM?
Hi Pagina Invalida, my name is Mega. That’s a joke about the megalomaniac, attitude of many artists. I left school earlier because I wasn’t really happy in my university. “My Education Got Aborted”. Throughout the years I have learn to find my own voice, step by step.

WHAT ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
From funk to “underground hip hop” music inspires me more a lot. I think that illustrators and music producers work in a similar way. Alone behind your computer, you have to spend hours and hours to establish a structure and polish the details with stunning effects. Years after years, productions after productions, you find your own style, a “color”, that makes you identifiable.
 
NBA babes
Drawing of two NBA babes for Complex magazine in the USA.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVORITE ARTISTS AND DESIGNERS?
My favorite writer are Harry Crews, Will Self, Don Delillo, Celine and Chester Himes. As for the visual art, I don’t really pay attention to other illustrators or designers. All I can say is that I enjoy the art of people like Charles Burns, Dalek, Flying Fortress, or Dave Kinsey.
 
Bitchy black girl for Complex mag
Illustration of a bitchy black girl.

DO YOU THINK THAT GRAPHIC DESIGN INFLUENCES PEOPLE LIVES?
think that ordinary people do not care about graphic design. Good art probably reaby graphic design are the designers themselves.
 
TALK TO ME ABOUT YOUR TYPICAL DAY AT WORK
Nothing is typical in my work, including the way I do it.
 

Original handmade drawing by mega

Original handmade drawing for my solo art exhibition I Just Murdered The Alphabet

PRINTS, FIGURES, CHARACTERS, WHAT DO YOU PREFER LIKE TO ILUSTRATE?
Anything that customers need and pay me for.
 
WHAT TOOLS DO YOU USE?
My main tool remains my brain. My brain helps me take decisions. My brain is a boss and no one can dispute. Then come my eyes, which are very useful as assistants, giving constant indications and warnings. Last but not least are my hands. They are the workers who do not take decisions and are turning the vision into a reality.
 
WHAT IS YOUR GREATEST DIFFICULTY WITH CUSTOMERS?
I usually do not have problems with my clients. I am probably lucky but so far all my experiences have been good. I don’t see the customer has someone who bring problems. I’m here to help him and assist him. So far everything is going very well.
 
advertising Volkswagen
Car drawing for the advertising of the new Volkswagen.

YOU KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT BRAZILIAN DESIGN?
I like Brazilian street art like Os Gemeos or Speto. I want definitely to learn more about the culture. In a near future I plan to visit and discover what life is like in your region. Are the Brazilian girls really so beautiful?

WHAT IS THE POLITICAL MESSAGE BEHIND YOUR WORK?
The main political or social message behind my work is: “Follow your own path”. This is not as easy as it sounds.Not matter how hard it is, don’t give up on your your dreams. Your are the only one that will take you to your destination.
 

Drawing of a masked character

Drawing of a masked character for my new exhibition

WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT POLITICS?
For me it’s all about money. You can vote for whoever you want, but the most effective way to change the world around you is to watch the way you will earn and spend your money. I do not want to hurt people to earn my money, so I want to remain independent.

HOW IS THE GRAPHIC DESIGN SCENE IN FRANCE?
In France we do not have a great history of graphic design. Compared to countries like Germany or Switzerland, people here don’t really care about the graphic culture. Most of the time, when I tell people that I am a graphic designer, they think that I’m talking about graffiti! I love graffiti but graphic design is a different field. As for the future, I would say that everything is possible and that it is up to the new generation to change the mentalities. Thank you Pagina Invalida.

LANGO
Interview with the tattoo artist

Lango is a legendary tattoo and street artist I interviewed when I was working for Acclaim magazine.

With a constant increasing quantity of new faces showing up every morning, it is currently essential to find new perspectives for whom who hope to unite personal creations and commercial success in the trendy landscape of tattooing.
With nearly twenty years of practice, the Brazilian artist Lango today masters various tools like Guns, brushes, or even spraycans, with a highly recognizable and tasteful style. Without any art school background to orientate his technique, this multi-faceted creative artist now develops his original approach in his San Diego studio, from where he gives acclaim’s readers the opportunity to know a little bit more about his life and views.

Lango interview published in Acclaim

Lango interview published in Acclaim

COULD YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT LANGO?
I grew up in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, where I started tagging at a very young age and was exposed to the skateboarding culture, punk rock, metal (Sarcofago), and was always hanging around older crowds. I had a few friends that were tattooers and they encouraged me to start tattooing, in spite of my hesitation. I started working at a tattoo shop as a counter person during the day and tattooed people at home.

Nice ink on neck by Lango

Nice ink on neck by Lango

WHAT IS THE CREATIVE PROCESS BEHIND YOUR WORK AS A TATTOO ARTIST, A PAINTER, OR A GRAFFITI ARTIST?
I use a different approach for each medium, but a lot of times it all clashes together. When I paint with oils or acrylics, I try to stay away from tattoo imagery. When I use water color, I work more with graphic tattoo related themes. My approach to tattooing is either graphic/traditional or very painterly, depending on the subject matter. With graffiti, I prefer letters over characters, but I also stay away from tattoo imagery when painting characters and look for a medieval or experimental character. My style focuses on old traditional and medieval imagery (skulls, dragons, snakes, witches, heraldic lurkers, etc.), and good old bio-mech.

Big graffiti mural by the artist

Big graffiti mural by the artist

AFTER ALL THOSE YEARS IN THE BUSINESS, WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT THE WORLD OF TATTOO TODAY?
When I started tattooing, it was so hard to find information. It was like a secret world so whenever you learned something like making needles you knew that you learned something fundamental and that you had to master that also. I was lucky that I was accidentally around some of the best tattooers in Rio of that time. Nowadays, you can buy everything from home, and there are numerous TV shows related to tattooing. Thanks to those shows, every middle aged person that works into a tattoo shop brings some kind of wack reference, or sad story that has nothing to do with tattooing and expects to get a sleeve in two hours. What was so fascinating about tattoo was the fact that it was underground. Whoever was heavily tattooed was like a rebel, an outlaw. Now every poser has neck and hand tattoos before getting anything else.

Lango arm tattoo

Lango arm tattoo

Rodrigo Level
Interview with the Brazilian street artist

Rodrigo Level is a Brazilian street artist I interviewed for this art blog.

Peace and chaos.
I wouldn’t find better words to describe this land of contrast. Living in Brazil for a year I saw those 10% of the rich brazilian people living in a mental and social ghetto, afraid with the guns, sex, music, soul, friendship, violence and love that you find everywhere in the other 90% of the population. Rodrigo Level is a real artist with both the talent and the brain. His art is beautiful, real, brazilian.
More about the Brazilian street artist Rodrigo Level.

Brazilian graffiti by Rodrigo Level

Brazilian graffiti by Rodrigo Level

PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF
My name is Rodrigo Level and I first started to paint the streets in the mid 90′s in my hometown, São Paulo. At first my work was influenced by the traditional graffiti but as I got older new experiences such as living in different cities had an enormous impact in my art. Today I live in a small town in the south of Minas Gerais where I develop my art.



Exhibition of paintings by the street artist Rodrigo Level

Exhibition of paintings by the street artist Rodrigo Level

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK?
I never worked with a specific message, I believe my eyes reflect like a mirror my daily life, the people who surround me, peace and chaos together. I’m a great observer of myself, everyone and everything around me and all the inversion of values, human behavior and the world we live in are transferred automatically into my art.



Illustration artwork by Rodrigo Level

Illustration artwork by Rodrigo Level

PLEASE SHARE WITH US YOUR WORKING PROCESS
It’s a unique moment when I truly find me, myself and I and all my thoughts, it’s the time I’m able to let go and translate everything I observed before this moment. Not one trace is only a trace, the symmetry reveals the density of the character’s imprisonment. Sometimes these moments are much lighter and free, when I just let the brush run aimlessly trough the canvas to get something dirtier and dense.



HOW DOES YOUR ENVIRONMENT INFLUENCE YOUR ART?
My influence comes from the mistake and conflict behind the average human behavior, the need to hide from one’s self, turning life into an endless run from your roots and values.

New school Brazilian street art

New school Brazilian street art

WHO ARE YOUR INFLUENCES?
Since an early age I’ve been surrounded by excellent artists who influenced me in one way or another, be it by their actions or art. I’m always open to absorb influences in every way, I’ve always admired and followed the art of artists such as Hebert Baglione, Vitché, Speto and can honestly say that they have influenced me a lot.
Nowadays that relationship has changed but it’s inevitable not to find details that I admire and respect, lately my respect and admiration go to artists like Fernando Chamarelli, Medo & Dementia, Olivier Vrancken, Remed and Fefe Talavera.



Rodrigo Level graffiti.

ANY LAST WORD?
Good Vibrations to all!

Os Gemeos
STREET ART OF THE WEEK

Os Gemeos is an inspiring duo of Brazilian street artists.

Every week, I try my best to bring you a selection of the best Street Art images.
This week, I show you some nice artworks made by the Brazilian duo of artists Os Gemeos.
Gemeos means “Twins” in Portuguese, the language of Brazil.
The street artists are actually identical twin brothers in the real life.
Their artworks built one of the biggest influences in the Brazilian graffiti scene since their beginnings in the late 80′s.

If you want to know more about the leaders of the graffiti scene in Brazil, don’t forget to check my interviews of the legendary Speto and Rodrigo Level.

Their artworks are a clever social comment of Brazilian society, and in the meantime their art is clearly influenced by the folklores and cultures from the country.

Their graffiti have been internationally acclaimed.
Their street paintings have been featured on the walls around the world, and prestigious galleries like the Tate Modern, the Art Basel, and much more.
Os Gemeo’s graffiti are well-know for the huge scales they never hesitate to face.
They often paint the full face of a whole building with a single character.
You have to respect the commitment and dedication it takes to paint such big surfaces..
The street artists from Brazil helped to define what is the best of today’s graffiti.
More about the Brazilian street artists Os Gemeos.

Exhibition by Os Gemeos

Exhibition by Os Gemeos

Whole car train graffiti by the Brazilian duo Os Gemeos

Whole car train graffiti by the Brazilian duo Os Gemeos

Clever street art by Os Gemeos

Clever street art by Os Gemeos

The Brazilian graffiti duo paint a mural in New York

The Brazilian graffiti duo paint a mural in New York

Artwork installation for an exhibition by Os Gemeos

Artwork installation for an exhibition by Os Gemeos