Interview with Fernando ChamarelliJuxtapoz // Monday, 27 Sep 2010
His paintings remind me of harlequin clowns and bright carnival costumes (no doubt connected to the artists Brazilian background), calmed down his thin and intricate black lining. Chamarelli is a UNESP formed graphic designer, recently being commissioned by sportswear giant Umbro to re-design the Brazilian football shirt crest. He is also an illustrator and painter. He is set to take part in a London Miles group exhibition alongside Ekundayo and Morning Breath in October. -Tanya Guryel
London Miles: If you could put a name on your style, what would you call it?
I don’t know, maybe multicultural art.
Around what age and stage were you in your education and career, when you created you distinctive style, how did you know that your style was what best represented you?
Ever since I started drawing I made things in several different styles. I started drawing cartoons, realistic portraits, caricatures; I made tattoo, graffiti and a lot of digital art. During college I had a great time, yet I went without creating anything. After I finished college I started drawing and realized I was doing something different and I thought if I did that with paint on canvas the results could be interesting. That's when I found this style, it was exactly three years ago.
What was growing up in Brazil like?
I was born and raised in a small town nearing the center of Brazil. A city surrounded by rivers and waterfalls, I had much contact with nature and I think it helped me with organic shapes, colors and the elements that I put in my artworks. There are always animals in my works, especially birds.
Can you give examples of Brazilian culture that is relevant to your work and are there any other cultures that influence you?
Brazilian music is very important to me when I'm creating a new work. However, there are several other elements of Brazilian culture that I put in my paintings: the fauna, flora, folklore, carnival costumes, artwork of indigenous art, the costumes used in religious festivals, etc. Brazilian culture is rich, as are several other cultures. I like Maori, Celtic, Egypt and Chinese art etc. And I have a very strong connection with pre-Columbian cultures: Maya, Inca and Aztec. Actually I try to add elements of different cultures in my work.
Are there any general undertones or a general theme attached to the works you have done for you upcoming exhibition at London Miles?
In the paintings that I did for London Miles the main theme is about Gods and myths, but each painting has its own history.
What feeling do you like to elicit from your viewers?
Hmm, that's a good question. Actually I don’t like to impose a meaning onto the paintings and I don’t expect a single type of feeling. If I painted a horse and the viewer sees a dragon, no problem. I enjoy seeing people's imagination, I let them be free to imagine whatever they want. My work can mean something for me and a different meaning for another person. My intention is always to do something I enjoy, something that I enjoy and that makes me happy.
How did you first encounter art and when did you decide to pursue it?
I have no artist relatives and I haven’t been drawing since childhood, like most artists. In my house there were few books, newspapers and magazines. There were little printed images that inspired me to start creating something. I didn’t have much contact with art at that time. But when I was 14 my friend gave me a super hero comic and I thought these characters were fantastic. Since that day I never stopped drawing, and over time I had contact with other kinds of art until I started painting.
When thinking of a piece, do you begin with the subject matter or the general color palette? Because both elements are powerful in your work.
First I always think about the matter, then I think about the colors. I always try to use new combinations of color, but always intertwined with white, black and gray. I worry about the color balance; I like to make sure that similar tones don’t touch each other.
What is your creative process, how do you form your pieces?
First I turn my radio on. I draw and study the colors on paper, then I draw and paint on the canvas.
What was it like re-designing Brazil’s crest for Umbro?
The Umbro release a collection of shirts with tribute to the seven teams that have won the World Cup: Argentina, Brazil, France, England, Italy, Germany and Uruguay. It was called The World Champions Collective. I was the Brazilian artist chosen to create a crest for the shirt of Brazil with my style. It was an amazing project, I liked participating because I love football.
If you could only choose one area to continue working in for the rest of you life would you rather be a graphic designer, or a painter?
Well, I’d rather be a painter in the morning, and a graphic designer in the evening. But if I had to choose between them, I’d want to be a painter.
Fernando Chamarelli will be showing his work at London Miles Gallery in London alongside works by Ekundayo, and Morning Breath, which will open with a reception slated for Friday, October 8th 2010. Details here.
Exhibition on show: October 9th to November 5th 2010.
For more information, contact www.londonmiles.com