NUNCA, one of my all-time favorite artists gives us an up close and personal look into his city, his art and the evolution of his artistic process.
Brazilian street artist Nunca addresses the effect of globalization on a society caught between exporting its culture and embracing foreign products. Blunt expressions are engraved into the walls of Brazil, doused in paint and branded with the logo of Naique (NIKE). His characters are frozen in a struggle to maintain the authentic culture of Brazil while adapting to an influx of foreign goods on the global market.
You’ll recognize Nunca from numerous publications. He was an essential part of the book Graffiti Brasil released in 2005. Nunca most recently was invited to exhibit at the Sao Paulo Museum of Modern Art. Additionally, he was commissioned this year to cover the entire exterior of a Scottish castle with friends Os Gemeos and Nina.
Here’s an except from an interview conducted by IdeaSeek.com
Q: How long have you been doing graffiti?
A: I started painting in the streets more or less about 12 years ago.
Q: About how many murals have you done?
A: I don’t remember.
Q: Your characters appear very indigenous. Latin America , specifically Brazil boasts many ethnicities. Is there a statement being made in the portrayal of your characters? Is it political?
A: When I go out to paint on the street, I’m picturing the people that live there, it’s for them. Who in Brazil isn’t of a mixed breed? And even so I can say I’m black, white or Indian, why not?
I believe because of the mixing breeds, Brazil is culturally rich, but we don’t value that cultural richness, we don’t respect ourselves, we don’t try to improve our self-esteem. The images I use of Indians are a way to depict that this rich culture lives within each Brazilian, but the foreign exploitation in the country, diminishes Brazil’s self-esteem. An Indian in the city either chooses to maintain its roots or to use NAIQUE (Nike)’s sneakers. The Knowledge of Indigenous people with its unique way to see the world is rooted in the Brazilian culture, as well as its natural resources in the Amazon forest. I always try to politicize my work, with subjects that can be about cannibals, the ravishing exportation of Brazilian fruit, of Indigenous culture, the forgery of labels, but the focus of my interventions questions how the traditional culture mixes, maintains or loses itself to globalization.
Q: Being that you are immersed in such a huge city, and graffiti is so public, do you make your art as a sense of identity? Do you feel that you are begging for the attention of the public, or are you simply making the walls more beautiful as people walk by?
A: I believe one of the unique hearted things I can do is expressing myself through art, if anyone says it’s pretty or ugly, it doesn’t concern me, but the fact I live in Sao Paulo makes me think how lucky I am. Sometimes I think I live in a Paradise although the prefect of the town doesn’t credit graffiti as an art form and has been erasing a lot of works in the streets.
Q: You have recently exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in Sao Paulo. What is your opinion of the art scene there?
A: The invitation for the Projeto Parede of MAM came after a collective exhibition I did in Galery Fortes VilaÃ§a in Sao Paulo, and after one of the curators of the Museum spotted some of my works in the streets. The art Scenario in Sao Paulo, has been more open, step by step, and a small market has been developing around the artists that don’t have any academic studies, like the case of graffiti writers. I believe that only with time the quality of each artist is going to tell that: “… You can kill yourself in that scenario!”
Q: How did the castle project come about? Where is the castle located?
A: The idea came from the children of Lord Glasgow (David and Alice Boyle), they searched for artists that combined a strong visual identity with influences of Brazilian popular culture and also a particular view of the Universe portrayed in the artists paintings. After seeing my work as well as from other artists, in books or the internet, they were very keen… in this project with us. And it was great for all of the artists there, because we knew each other and we knew how each other worked as well.
I strongly believe this was one of the most satisfying works I have ever done, basically, participating in a completely different experience from the projects I had done before. Developing this work with other artists, meeting amazing persons with very interesting family background, apart from the experience of living with them and creating for about a month in a beautiful nature setting, eventually inspired the creative process.
Q: What artists in Brazil are you watching closely right now?
A: Glauber Rocha, Darcy Ribeiro, Helio Oiticica, Luiz Sacilotto, Ligia Clark.
Q: When you are not making art, where do you find yourself?
A: Sleeping, eating or destroying something.
Q: Lastly, shout outs? What can we look forward to seeing from you during the rest of the year?
A: I have an exhibition for next October in Paris, on Magda Danysz’s gallery and in the meantime I’m still painting in the streets and at home.”…