When conceiving your pieces, do you take into account the future viewer and the comprehensiveness of a piece or do you rather conceive it as a personal expression?
For me, building a piece is a way (the best way for me) of communicating my thoughts, my feelings, and, being a form of communication, that only can make sense if in the back of my mind I know that I am talking with someone. So yes, I take in account the spectators and more so, I always try to include them in the process of the artwork, making them co-artists by interacting (using technology of simple processes of perception).
Regarding the comprehensiveness of the piece, well, that I can’t control, and I don’t want to. It gives me a lot of elation when someone sees something completely new, something I had never thought of. The more time people spend thinking about my piece, the more meaning my work gains, I feel. I always have something I’m talking about with my work. Obviously, for me the work speaks “somehow clearly” about that message that I want to bring across, but I also always leave some “doors and windows” open to all who want to breath their own air when seeing my work.
In your personal career as an artist, what have been or still are the challenges?
Being an artist in Portugal (and probably everywhere) is difficult, precarious and instable and we have to be very (very very) passionate about what we are doing to persist. Another more personal aspect that I’ve always had to deal with has been my shyness, which sometimes stops me from going a little further than I could go, but it’s something that I’m willing to struggle with every time.
Because art is the only way that I feel completely alive, and to be in the art world nowadays, we have to speak (up) and to go places.
How does a day in your life as an artist and Phd student look?
Lonely. I love to learn, if I could, I would probably always be learning and absorbing new worlds given to me by everyone- I think people are extraordinary and observing them is the most powerful path to understanding ourselves. Learning is a space for that observation and for hearing and speaking to pears. Nonetheless, a PhD is a lonely path because the investigation takes a lot of mental space for one alone – it’s like a “house” where you are alone at first, and then, when the thesis is somehow a bit more advanced, we start inviting “friends over” … and then, it probably ends up starting and reconfiguring all over again.
Tell us a bit more about your creative process- from an idea to a “finished” work.
If I have a call for a work for a specific place and/or a specific theme I dealt with before, I investigate about it, I walk in the places, sense the people and talk with them. The process after is similar for everything I do: surround myself with poetry and music and think. Sleep thinking in the ideas and usually wake in the dawn with some solutions, or sometimes new problems. Subsequently starts the process of the construction of the work, the “mental” place that I most love being, were I totally disappear from this world and go to a place of joy and labour were the thought is quiet and my mind has stillness. The semi-final part is the assembly of the piece in the place where it will be exhibited and adjusting the final details (and because I’m a total control freak and perfectionist, I usually spend much time overseeing all these final details). The final and most anguished part of all is the communication part for me. Usually, it all turns out well but it still is very difficult for me.
And then… (or even before) the beautifull part: seeing the spectators interact with my work.
Do you think that emerging artists are given enough importance?
No, in my perception, especially if you aren’t young anymore and come from another area besides Fine Arts. I don’t live in the two big cities in Portugal (Lisboa and Porto) where most of the art galleries are, as well as opportunities to mingle with other artists and to attend conferences and seminars. But, I also think it’s important to take art out of the urban centers, and that means we have to create new paths. It’s more difficult but can be more interesting, sometimes.
II wondered if you could comment on the value and importance that art holds in society vs. the value and importance you personally think it should hold.
Art (for me) is the definition of being Human. Through love and art is how we establish connections and create the possibility to improve – the process of imagination, of creation, is vital for all areas of the society. Besides this, art can be a good weapon to bring to light questions that can and sometimes should be talked (although art doesn’t have to have a propose all the times).
For me, art is the definition of being human. Through love and art is how we establish connections and create the possibility to improve
If you were talking to a being that doesn’t come from and has never been to earth, how would you describe an artist and our job to this being?
An artist is a human that invents a windmill to fight against it, art is the wind that makes that windmill works. An artist is a person that doesn’t ever stop doubting everything (even himself) and art is his exceptional metamorphosis. An artist is a person that never ceases of the capacity of amazement with himself and with the world. I could say so many things… but nothing could explain what an artist is or worse: what art is.
You have been organizing events, participating in conferences and giving talks- would you encourage other emerging artists to do the same?
I think it’s essential to put ourselves out there, to and speak as much as we can about our work and hear about others works, it’s an exceptional way to grow. I think it’s a need that artists must take to themselves most of these works that usually were occupied by other agents.
Any emerging (or established) artists you’d like to recommend?
There are so many artists that influence me, or have influenced me through my life that is very difficult to say just a few, and also they are from such different areas: Witggenstein; Bach; Helena Almeida; Joan Jonas; Chet Baker; Leonardo da Vinci; John Cage; Wagner; Tarkovksy; Nan June Paik; Schopenhauer; and so many others. More emergent artists I could name all the artists that I’ve worked and study with through my life, all thought me something.
Where can we see your work (currently) and how to get in touch with you?
At this very moment, I don’t have any exhibition open to the public, so the best way of seeing my work now is through my website, Vimeo or social media. My latest exhibited work was Roots [sharing the same dream], an installation/performance/concert that happened in the Cantanhede Photofest this past October.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope that I continue to have space and time to do what I love the most: Art. To continue to be the space between the light and the shadow.
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