During 1 year, the Brazilian artist Guilherme Kramer covered office walls. Interview.
FatCap : Where are you from?
Guilherme Kramer : I'm from Brazil, born and raised in São Paulo, but my entire family is from the South. This brings me some regional feelings amidst the chaos of a big city.
FC : What is your artistic career?
G : Career ... I never thought of it as a career, things were just happening. Drawing was always been glued to me, it's been my escape valve, my cave, all this time. I'm happy to make a living from something that absorbs me. But back to the question, it is my life. It will be with me until I die.
FC : What do you like in art?
G : Art frees us, it lifts us out from the mediocrity of life, leads us to other places. Be it a movie, a song or a painting, it doesn't matter. Humans need other stories, whether they are true or not. For me, art is an escape, a chance to live other lives.
FC : Which is the origin of the project "we see people in the crowd?
G : The Crowd is a very common theme in my work, I am fascinated by these large masses. When the invitation came to paint the office walls, I already wanted to bust out from the canvas, the sheet of paper, I wanted to do something monumental, big. But it would have to be a rather extensive job, due to the amount of detail and of people.
Well, I sent the proposal to fill in all the walls, the idea was to go once a week, at night. And when people came to work the next day, they would encounter new faces.
This invasion would done during one year, we wanted something alive, that would grow. It worked, it was very interesting, people really liked it.
FC : How did you feel it? Not so easy to fill all the walls?
G : It wasn't easy at all, but I was always very excited about the result, whenever I went to the place, it gave me energy, because it was pulsating there, right in front of me. Soon, new faces were popping up, they always tend to appear. I worked until dawn and I was totally absorbed by their faces, each of them had a story.
This always helps make the job less monotonous, creating these stories always helps me.
FC : Faces and people are in the mood of your work. Why this choice?
G : For various reasons, I've always been crazy about the human face, I almost always fail to pay attention in a conversation because I begin to see the way the face moves, the details...the person, it's always caused me problems because I wasn´t able to pay attention to the conversation. When I'm riding the subway or on the street, I keep coming up with stories about nameless people, wondering how they are at home, how old they were or when they were children. I like facial mapping, the map each person carries with them.
FC : Saturating the wall or canvas with faces, what message are you trying to deliver?
G : The crowd is related to the poetry of the people, to camouflaged existence, to the encounter, the lack of space, to urbanization, to chaos, to immobility. It's the human being in his diversity, complexity and individuality.
More people will always emerge, for example, now I'm going to the bank, I'll find about 15 people queued at the teller, with 4 more. Walking around, 30 more people, 10 of them strange, funny. It all goes inside my head, there's no endl to it! It'll only stop when I die. or not!
FC : Your style comes from many inspirations, Which are they? and how would you define your style?
G : I'm very influenced by Brazilian popular art, in a fairly broad way, popular masks have influenced me, baroque images, puppets, folk festivals, our mythology.
Mix this with German expressionism (cinema) that took place in the 20s, whose main feature was of the distortion of the sets and the characters, and of course filmed in B & W. Films such as The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Nosferatu were essential, paintings by Van Gogh and Francis Bacon always interested me very much, as were two very important books by them, Letters to Theo and Interviews with Francis Bacon. Also, for a long time, I freaked out in the series of etchings, "The Caprichos of Goya." On a daily basis, there's nothing like a good urban treverse, walk, walk, walk.
Now, how to define my style? ... Brazilian expressionism?
FC : You have great series in black and white. Is your technique, close to Rotring, makes you a more pure drawer than a painter?
G : I was born in drawing, the line has always been my companion, I draw compulsively, everywhere, all the time. I'm very agitated, nervous, and the pen stroke has always followed the rhythm of my heart, when I go to paint a canvas, the tendency is that expressive things will come out, with lots of power. The painting process has another rhythm, I'm looking for this rhythm. So much so that I moved out of São Paulo, about a month ago. I'm living in Barcelona, life here runs at another pace.
FC : Do you ever use spray paint?
G : I've used it a few times, including on the street. I liked it, but I prefer to paint with paint and brush, have more control and variation in texture. A brush is like a tongue. With spray paint, I lose that feeling. Sometimes, I use it to put some details on my canvases.
FC : How would you define the world of art in Brazil?
G : In Brazil we are experiencing a great period, a lot of people are producing, connecting, showing off their work. Many people come from the underground, from the bases, making a new, free art. We cannot expect things to fall on our heads, we have to go after it, fight for our space. We still have major problems, but we are creative and do things with the weapons we have, it is usually this way we create new things. Not only in Brazil but in the entire world, we are undergoing change. This is very inspiring.
FC : Are pixadores still feared in São Paulo?
G : We need to know that graffiti is different from pixação (street scrawling). The graffiti is already incorporated into the city, and people in general are very fond of it. But urban scrawling, which is just letters, do indeed suffer from some kind of prejudice.
But this issue doesn't really matter, what matters is that street art in São Paulo is vibrant!
FC : Talking about graffiti in Sao Paulo many artits Emerged from the street, the Os Gemeos, Nunca for exemple. How do you see the evolution of art and graffiti Within 10 years in São Paulo?
G : As far as graffiti, there are lots of new people, coming from other backgrounds, going out into the street, doing their art. In fact, in São Paulo, we have a great art scene going on. Great guys like Osgemeos, Nunca, Speto have influenced many people. Now, this is being reflected in the new generations. This is very good!
As for art, in recent times, the desire of young people to follow the path of art has grown very much. In Brazil they are producing a lot, this new generation seems to be taking the artistic road, not surrendering to the status quo. This is transformative.
FC : Have you ever been to Europe? What is your opinion on art in Europe?
G : I've been in 2005 to do some live paintings, one in Barcelona and one in Bern, Switzerland.
As I said, now I'm living in Barcelona. What I can say is that art in Europe is amazing, very strong and expressive. The younger folks here know a lot, and have a strong desire to do things. they are very open and love Brazilian graffiti!
But at the same time, they feel a lack of space to paint on the streets, they really want to do their work. In São Paulo it's a bit different, we are freer in this regard.
Another thing I find is that it seems they are more accustomed to the artistic craft. Working with something that is based on crafting skills or authorship is more common. This makes things lighter.
FC : Your favorite quote?
G : "Art exists because life is not enough" Ferreira Gullar
FC : What are your tastes in books, movies, music?
G : Books: Augusto dos Anjos, Fernando Pessoa, Aldous Huxley, Baudelere, Jung, Freud – The interpretation of dreams. In films, I really like "One Flew Over the Cukoo's Nest, in music, rock, Indie rock and jazz.
FC : In Which direction do you want to change your style?
G : I'm painting a lot here in Barcelona, as well as studying a lot. I’m studying a Master in Muralism, working with vitrals, cenography, mural arts, i want to study more
about three-dimensions mediuns, on the wall. And we have a lot of painting classes, I want to break from the line, I want to use more gestures, to delve into colors in painting.
FC : What would be your final goal?
G : To continue making art. Always.
FC : To Conclude, do you have an exclusive for FatCap?
G : I'm working on a large painting. I am very anxious to see the final result, here's a piece of work, I'll start using it in murals. I can not wait!
FC : Thanks Guilherme!