Porto Alegre, Brazil
Check out more works at Nina’s Fickr .
[Zupi] Nina, how did it all start? Talk about the beginning of your journey through the world of Art – and the streets.
I’ve always drawn, like any child, and I’ve been very influenced by my parents, who kept me always armed with pencil and paper. Since I was a kid, the paper sheet wasn’t enough: I used to draw on walls, books, furniture, anything that would appear in front of me. But it was only when I got to my teens years that the activity of drawing showed itself as a job. I graduated on Journalism and, in college, I used to draw and write fanzines. My first jobs involved creation of images: first as photographer, and after as illustrator. I’ve met Lucas Ribeiro “Pexão” while taking the communication course, and also because of the fanzines. At that time, he was obsessed with the urban arts, and was opening the Adesivo Gallery, specialized on the theme, and invited me to participate on the first press conference. There, I met Trampo, Mateus Grimm, Flip, people who had been working on streets for some time. It was very stimulating. Back on that time, I was really excited with the thought of painting outdoor, on the streets, so it didn’t take long for me to put on a backpack, containing back ink and brushes, and start scribbling on the city walls. And there goes 8 years of my life…
[Zupi] Which are your references?
My reference is a world constantly moving. The lightness of the organic lines of nature, old portraits, music, obscure human feelings, cartoons, Diane Arbus, byzantine art, flamenca, deco, nouveau, jazz, Bach, Augusto dos Anjos, astral conjunctions and, above all, people.
[Zupi] The line, more than just guiding the outline and the shape of your drawings, seems to be the main trace of your creations. How did you develop this style?
The line is a primordial element on my work. Through it, I search the synthesis of the shape, and how to express a lot through so little. The line guides, outlines, sketches, finishes, flows through path not always known. On illustrations, the line has always a very strong and symbolic presence. On the other hand, on streets, I’ve been exploring a new language, abolishing it – better, turning it into negative. Its opposite, the filling and the absence of outline catch my attention. It was the esthetic solution I found to portray bigger images, big blocks of colours outlined by an imaginary line. Nib right on paper, brush right on wall, and we’ll see what comes out of it.
[Zupi] Your interventions are made mostly by brush painting. Why?
On streets, it fits better the brush esthetics, the vectorial trace, colours without sprays’ nuances and smudginess.
[Zupi] Female images prevail on your work. Why is that?
It’s simples for me to paint females – there is intimacy, proximity. I feel some sort of complicity to every character, and the way that they communicate to each other. Maybe it’s inevitable that they’ll always have something of myself, just like it would happen to anyone who can break the limits of the paper and walls’ surface.
[Zupi] Still talking about the female universe, do you think that the women contribution on the urban scene, predominantly manly, has been increasing?
It is truth that men prevail on the urban space, perhaps because of the aggressive nature of graffiti, but it’s increasing the numbers of girls doing interventions on streets all over the world, and that carry very expressive works. They climb stairs, glue, draw, paint trains and, if needed, even run away from the police – which makes the gender question lose some of its importance nowadays.
[Zupi] Your drawings reveal a playful world, full of creatures half human, half imaginary. Is there a relation between your art and reality, or the thought of escaping of it?
Reality is a reference, but strangely, it always carries something magical, inexplicable and terrifyingly true with it.
[Zupi] Your fotolog website is titled Freak Show. Would our live be like some type of horror show?
It’s possible that we’re all part of the cast of life’s horror show. How many of us have two heads (or none), wings, hollow eyes, hand, or four legs? What bizarre stuff do we find on our existence? Stop, feel, notice it… and beat the drums!
[Zupi] You come from the South of Brazil, but you already made your interventions on cities from all the country. Would you discard the differences between the graffiti styles produced on those different regions? Still about that question, what do you think about the street art production on Porto Alegre?
I think it’s done a very playful approach on street paintings. There’s the intention of communicating, of dialoguing in a symbolic and harmonic way with the city, through distinct styles and language. Painting with what we have is very common here in Brazil. It doesn’t have to be the finest material, there’s always space for improvisation. Ink leftover on the sidewalk would certainly turn into a drawing.
[Zupi] Entering private establishments, your illustrations can be found on bottons, books and advertisement. Is there something that distinguishes your market work from the authorial one? Do you see them in the same way?
Drawing is my job, the way I make money, but it’s also my playground. I think that the main difference, when you create to the market, is the base. It’s challenging and stimulating thinking of different ways of applying a drawing. These vehicles require a very dynamic work. The process is much more authorial when you deal with products; insane, when you get a briefing from the advertisement agency; and journalistic when I deal with texts. I like to work on all these areas, and I’m luck I have reached a spot on the market in which the artist’s style is enriched, unattached from the creation’s purpose – it’ll always be a very personal drawing.
[Zupi] What tip would you give for those who are starting now?
Make at least one drawing a day.