I'm just gushing over the work of artist Ricardo Passaporte whose bright, spray painted canvases and site-specific works address ideas of consumerist society, materialism, and waste. Bright colors and a subtle yet impactful style of minimal installation really complements the bright wall-mounted works. I particularly love the Lidl paintings (Lidl, for those Stateside, is very similar to Aldi). Check out our interview here, and when you get to the end, check out more information at his website!
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Hi! First, can you tell me more about yourself? Are you currently based in Portugal?
My name is Ricardo Passaporte, born in 1987. Yes, actually I'm living in Lisbon, the city where I was born.
What first interested you in making art?
To be honest, I can't mention one thing. My great grandfather was a photographer, my grandfather a painter, so since I can remember, I listen to my family talking about art. I preferred visiting my grandfather's studio to playing games with my friends... I was not going to be a doctor, for sure.
You use spray paint on canvas primarily; have you a background in painting outdoors as well, or what interests you most in that medium?
Yes, I have a background from the streets, I really like to paint under pressure and also big scales.
And you also use other materials, and venture into sculpture, or site-specific installations. They often strike me as an exploration of convenience or quality. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
The site specific pieces come to my mind instantly when I see the space, and of course there is always a concept behind it, but I try not to think to much about it.
I love the Lidl motif (similar to Aldi, which might be more familiar to readers in America), which repeats in your recent show Where Quality is Cheaper, and other canvases seem to take a visual theme and break it down into parts, so to speak. How did you decide to use to Lidl logo, or what about it (and similar motifs) attract you?
About the LIDL pieces, I think I'm going to do them forever. I already did lots of pieces of them before the Where Quality Is Cheaper exhibition, but they were not showed properly.
I really like everything about LIDL: what it represents, the logo aesthetic, the colors, and all the publicity we are forced to absorb in several European cities, including Lisbon.... It's kinda violent.
What is your studio space like? How much time do you typically spend there?
I had a studio for two years inside an old fortress in Cascais. It belongs to Pestana Hotels. At the beginning, the studio was like a white cube, now it's not. Now I'm moving to a new one. The time I spend in my studio depends on the work I want and have to do. Sometimes more than I expected, sometimes less than I want.
How do you get started on a piece? Do you work on a series all at once?
It really depends. First of all I think about it, sometimes I draw a lot before starting the piece, sometimes I don't draw at all and it's 100% spontaneous. I used to work on a series all at once. Not anymore; I prefer to have them open, and work on them when I feel it makes sense to me.
What does the word "success" mean to you?
Success is being smart enough to do what you really love to do for your entire life.
What drives you to continue making work?
I need to do it. I think about it all the time.
Do you have any upcoming exhibitions or projects you're developing currently?
I'm now working for my solo exhibition at Ruttkowski68 in Cologne next year, I'm also working for a group exhibition in Lisbon and for another solo exhibition in Italy in 2017.
Find more at ricardopassaporte.com!
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