First the classic introduction – can you tell us who are you, what are you doing and where are you coming from?
Hello! I’m Eduardo Recife, an avid freelance illustrator and artist from Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
How did you started to do what you do, what or who influenced you? And how’s that changed, what/who are your biggest influences as an artist now?
I started working with collage back in 1997, when I came up with images to showcase the typefaces I was creating. Somehow I felt in love with collage and how it had such a powerful impact to put images together. For me, it was like a dream language where different elements, when combined together carried a message and a meaning. When I first started I was very influenced by the whole 90’s grunge aesthetics, mostly from designers inspired by David Carson (which I only knew about years later). Artists such as Charles Wilkin, Eric Boucheron, THS, Neasden Control Centre, among others really had an impact on my work. It was a very experimental time and there was a community of designers working, sharing and collaborating together.
A lot has changed since that time. The joyous experimentation days gave place to commercial works and responsibility. The internet has also changed so much, the sense of community, connection and appreciation gave place to a more shallow connection, where everything moves so fast and everything becomes ephemeral at the time of creation.
My biggest influences now are painters and other draftsman such as Sargent, Mancini and several Russian Artists.
I have to admit that you’re are one of my all time favourite artists – years ago when I saw your works in Plastic Kid’s Rodeo27 -zine, I remember how mesmerised I were by your usage of vintage paper cuttings mixed with all those scribbles, writings and bold color splashes. If you look back, did it take long to find your own ”style” and level you were comfortable on?
Thank you! Yes, those were the golden days of experimenting. I still don’t know how I could produce so much, but dedication had a great part in it. I used to work all day long and sometimes on weekends and late at night. I was focused, I wanted to be a great artist, I wanted to learn and create new things. Finding a style is something that takes time and effort and definitely work. Today It seems like lots of things look just like everything else, no one is willing to put the time into it, everything must be immediate and instantaneous.
What are your favourite source materials? How do you find them and do you spend much time while looking for them?
I love old papers, lithography and antique photos. I usually acquire them when I travel, searching in flea markets and old book stores. It takes time to build a good resource material, but it’s something pleasant to go after and to collect.
“An artwork usually develops a life of it’s own once you start to work on it, and I tend to follow intuition rather than my previous plan.”
When you begin to work a new piece, do you have a clear vision what you are going to do or where to start? How much your works ”live”/change from the original vision? How much you improvise?
I usually have a clear concept in mind, but I have no idea on how it’s going to turn out. Some other times I do a very quick sketch of my ideas on a piece of paper and even other times I just start putting things together and see where they lead me to. Most often things change a lot from what I had in mind; an artwork usually develops a life of it’s own once you start to work on it, and I tend to follow intuition rather than my previous plan.
How easy or hard is to finish your works? Do you ever get burnt out on a piece, and then, what do you do to keep working and being productive?
I usually prefer to work for as much time straight as I can on a piece. So, it’s not rare that I spend 8-12 hours a day working on a single piece. It’s a momentum, an energy that for me is stronger when I first come up with the idea and start working. Usually if it takes a long time to finish a piece (several days) or I take long breaks on something that I’ve been working on I tend to lose interest and it’s much harder and mechanical to finish it. On the other hand, there’s nothing better than the “next day” to see the image you’re working on with fresh eyes and see where/if you messed it up. If I get burned out on a particular work there’s great chances that I will never finish it, or I will change it so much to the point where it becomes something completely different.
In your artworks, do you have certain thing or elements that you notice to pay more attention to? What are the key elements to yourself?
I focus on overall harmony and especially how the main element (usually a person), connects to everything else. My work is all about the human nature, it’s desires, it’s purpose, it’s seach for love, truth, happiness… So everything must be centered in the main figure and everything else is there to adorn and talk about it.
There are a lot of symbolism and words/hand written texts in your works, do you want your viewers to understand your art?
That’s a good question. Sometimes I explain a piece to a friend and he/she is usually surprised about all the elements and symbols in it and what the piece was all about. So while a part of me wants people to understand what the artwork is about, another part feels confortable that people will never be able to grasp the whole thing or they will have their own interpretations. Sometimes the title of my work is the only thing that can give a hint of what it is all about… sometimes the work is so personal to me, that I feel glad it’s my own little secret.
You have been doing art for some time now, what keeps you collaging and creating? What excites you about it and drives you forward?
I don’t know what I would be doing if I couldn’t create. Sometimes I have an urge to create something. I’m not the kind of person who talks a lot, so the way I express better is with my art rather than with words. What I enjoy about it is that there’s always something new to learn. We are in constant change and development as an artist and as a person.
If you should describe your art with one word, what would it be?
Eduardo Recife around the internet: