If you are like me, names such as Freedoom, Eskizofrenicos, Motornoise, Sewer Goddess, Yen Pox, Wolfskin, Josué o Salvador em Busca da Perdição, Mandibula, Ossarivm, Two White Monsters Around A Round Table won't mean a lot for you. But there are surely a lot of people around this planet who know them and maybe do they already had the opportunity to see Andre's work. Be sure that it is not because you are not familiar with that kind of music, that you won't be able to appreciate Andre's work on posters, comics and many more medias. Welcome on the site Andre, welcome Portugal…
- Well, if you entered my house right now you would be listening to Autopsy "Macabe eternal". Awesome death metal record! This is the way things should be done! A few moments before I was listening to Haus Arafna "New York Rhapsody" and Alkerdeel, so it's quite clear that you never know what to expect!
Can you tell us more about yourself, who are you, where are you from, what do you do?
- I was born in V.N. Gaia, a city close to Porto, in the north of Portugal. My professional life is always bouncing around these two cities since a long time ago. I'm quite involved with the underground music scene of Porto, not only as an illustrator, but also as an active member of a few bands like the heavy industrial project Sektor 304 or the doom behemoths Profan. I am also one of the organizers of the Matanças Festival that gathers a huge part of the city's underground in a cathartic event dedicated to the occult and dyonisiac ritualization.
As an illustrator, I have worked for several bands and promoters of many genres, from punk rock to experimental music, by doing cover artwork, posters and merchandising.
I also do comics from time to time when a cool project reaches my hands.
Besides this, I'm also an Arts teacher for Primary school kids ahahahaha!
- I guess I've been drawing since I can remember. Drawing has always been a part of my life. My grandmother used to draw quite well, just for fun. I remember her saving the envelops from the Social Security Retirement Fund so she coul have paper just to doodle and sketch on her free time. In my early teens, my cousin, who is an architect probably gave me my first positive input to draw. Afterwards came comic books and things were very clear in mind about what I wanted to do in my life.
Did you follow any course or did you improve by drawing in the margins of your schoolbooks?
- I always followed courses related to Art. First in High-school and later I entered the University in a Fine Arts course. I did Painting but also loved to do Sculpture, specially in Metal and Wood. I always feel very connected to the materials and like it when they give a fight. Working with wood, which is almost a living material, is always very gratifying.
After the University, I began working more specifically on Illustration.
All this of course, doesn't mean the margins of schoolbooks were safe. None escaped the wrath.
- I've tried to live only by doing illustration, but honestly it's very hard to make a living. It's very very hard to try getting at least the minimum wage every month, specially when projects drag themselves for weeks when they should have been finished earlier or when clients "forget" to pay what they own you!! Yes, this shit is real and it happens.
So, besides working as a freelance illustrator, I work as an Arts teacher in Primary schools. It's quite interesting because you are trying to teach kids of 7 to 9 years old how to draw or paint and they have already so many barriers imposed by other teachers or parents. It's a nice challenge that brings you very nice surprises every now and then.
- Yes. You can say I'm also an independent publisher. I have a small label called Latrina do Chifrudo with a friend, Sara Gomes. We do a lot of fanzines with my works and some anthologies too. I regularly collaborate with Rudolfo, a very young illustrator also from Porto. He has this small publishing label called Ruru Comix and he does lots of fanzines there. Check it out at: http://rurucomix.wordpress.com/
At this moment, I have copies for sale of the Peepland fanzine, but I'm working on a new one to be released in early 2012.
Also check Latrina do Chifrudo at: http://latrinadochifrudo.tumblr.com/
- I guess I'm influence by a lot of the stuff I see, read, listens and that surrounds me. Heavy Metal had a lot of influence while I was a teenager and of course it still does it's part. Frank Frazetta, Barry Windsor Smith and John Buscema played a very important role in my road. Soon I found the work of the surrealists and some psychedelic artists. Austin Osman Spare and William Blake were also another big influence. The Symbolist painting of Moreau or Jan Toorop.
And of course, lots and lots of comics books. Special from the Spanish and South American masters. I love the work of Jordi Bernet, Breccia or the books by Sampayo and Muñoz.
Nowadays, there a lot of artists I like such as Timo Ketola, Denis Forkas Kostromitin, Vania, Stephen Kasner, French, the guys from Viral Graphics, Malleus, and many many more.
What are the principal steps in your work?
- Well, I always start with a rough sketch in notebooks. Sometimes a list of key words that dictate the overall feeling of the drawing. From this sketch I go towards the large format paper where I do the final and more detailed sketch on pencil. Sometimes I don't worry a lot with shadows or modelling the volumes. It's much more about putting things in their place and defining the shape of things. When it's done, I work with a light-table and pass everything with black indian ink. On this point the drawing reaches it's final black & white form, with all the shadows and details. I like the use Chinese brushes and dip nibs. The gestual approach is very important to me, I like to see the ink flow, to feel the actual brush action on the drawing. This is why I don't give too much definition on the pencil sketch.
- It depends. I previously described the main steps of creating a drawing, but they are about doing the final black & white paper original. When the work needs colour I tend to use the computer for this. The main reason for this option is that most of my work is meant to be printed and colouring it on the computer will give me a certain degree of control on the final colours. I have a huge database of stains, washes, brush marks, etc, so I can apply on the computer and things always have this "gestual" feeling, although it's made on the computer.
How long does it take you to do a poster?
- Once again, it depends. Might take a couple of days, might take two weeks. It's all about detail, size and will.
You have a very distinctive style, are you doing only what you feel like or if tomorrow somebody asks you an oil painting with horses running out of water with a sunset backdrop, is it a problem or are you up for it ?
- Ahhh the eternal problem of handling costumers. It's mostly about knowing your boundaries. How far you can go and how far will you allow them to go. Above all, I'm not hiding anything. What I do is very clear. So, if you come to me for a work then you know what you are getting into and know partially what to expect. In the same way, I also know that I am working for you and that there is an aim, an objective, a direction or a concept to follow. I have several stories of clients that came to me, saying that they love my work but in the end all they wanted was for me to do something completely different from what I do. This never ends the best way... never..
- Several. I can name a few like Freedoom, Eskizofrenicos, Motornoise, Sewer Goddess, Yen Pox, Wolfskin, Josué o Salvador em Busca da Perdição, Mandibula, Ossarivm, Two White Monsters Around A Round Table, among many others. While working for promoters like SWR, Amplificasom or Lovers & Lollypops, I managed to do posters for Kylesa, Dark Castle, Mouth of the Architect, Eternal Tapestry, Aluk Todolo, Times New Viking, Crystal Antlers, Scott Kelly and drawings for Metal Festivals like Bracara Extreme Fest (Napalm Death, Enslaved, Decapitated, etc...) or SWR XIV (Venom, Voivod, Atheist, etc...).
For which band would you love to work?
- St. Vitus. St. Vitus. St. Vitus. At least that the one that occurs to me at the moment. Oh! And Pentagram!
- No. They usually come to me with requests.
What is the most difficult part in designing a poster?
- Usually the beginning where you have to understand what is required by the band and the overall tone of the drawing. What is the direction of it where does it aim at. Than the research, but usually I love that part. Researching is a very important step for me. To collect visual data, concepts, graphic elements that help to emphasize the idea behind the drawing, etc...
Do you think you are part of a "Graphic Scene", if so who else ?
- Hum... I actually don't feel as if I belong to something. I'm much more connected to people as a "musician" or "band member" than I am as an illustrator, although I have a few good contacts, but mainly with people from other countries like French (Witchcraft Hardware), Sin-eater or Nicola Vinciguerra. In Portugal things aren't very good. There isn't much of this "music poster" thing, with a very few good exceptions. Perhaps now you start feeling that there is much more fanzines and exhibition spaces for illustrators, but it's a bit hard to call it a scene. But don't get me wrong! You have awesome illustrators in Portugal, like Rudolfo, João Maio Pinto, Daniel Silvestre, Miguel Carneiro, Marco Mendes, André Lemos, Ricardo Martins, among many others.
- My work is displayed on my blog at: http://homemdopacote.wordpress.com/
I'm currently with some exhibitions during October: the first in Malmö, Sweden in the context of this comic book I participated. It's called "Futuro Primitivo" and it's a crazy comic remix collecting art from several illustrators. You can see the exhibition from October 14 to November 4 2011 at Galleri Ocampo, Claesgatan 8 (MittMöllan) in Malmö, Sweden. You can buy the book at: www.chilicomcarne.com
The second exhibition will be in Aveiro, Portugal, with lots of original drawings from poster at Mercado Negro Association, from the 19th of October to the 19th of November.
The best praise you received lately?
- Nice ass.
- Money & luck.
Thanks for answering my questions and see you soon on the website !!
- Thank you for this interview! Cheers!