We interviewed Brazilian artist Fernando Charmarelli (FC), who will be exhibiting his latest body of work in the Thinkspace Gallery main room for his show ‘Secret Code’. English is not Charmarelli’s first language and without compromising the integrity of his interview, we have rephrased a few parts for clarity. ‘Secret Code’ will be opening August 15th and will run through September 5th.
SH: What was the inspiration behind “Secret Code”?
FC: The main idea is everything is connected. If you look back at the ancient civilizations, it’s intriguing to see how many similarities that exists between them. It’s as if they shared the same knowledge, even though they far apart or separated by oceans. It proves that there is much more to know and discover, beyond what we learn in history books.
Ancient wisdom, teachings and knowledge through symbolic codes can answer the main questions we have about life.
In each of my paintings you will find a mixture of myths, symbols, subliminal messages and secret codes that will take you on a journey through time and space that can confuse your mind or bring you revelations.
SH: What paints and brushes do you use to create your work? Do you have a favorite brush?
FC: I use acrylic ink, but I don’t have a favorite brush. I also don’t have a favorite brand of paint. I usually buy brushes and different paints when I’m traveling.
SH: Your work is very culturally inspired by your home country Brazil; what is the biggest misconception about Brazil or what do you wish people knew about Brazil?
FC: When talking about Brazil most foreigners think about football, samba and Carnival. In fact, Brazil is much more than that.
Each state or region of Brazil has its traditions and differences. Southern Brazil is very different from the north. The country has a rich culture with many different kinds of music, dances, different foods and landscapes.
This mixture of things and the economic situation of the people, makes every Brazilian need to be creative. So we have a lot of very good artists here.
We absorb what’s around us, mix it with our culture and create something new.
SH: Your favorite place you have visited so far while traveling?
FC: I don’t have a favorite place. I like to see new things, to see new places and to have new experiences. The places I’ve never been before are my favorites.
SH: You’ve shared before your pieces have Their Own Story; in your creative process does the story come first or does it develop while you’re painting the piece? Do you ever imagine creating your own book explaining the works personal mythology?
FC: I never thought about this idea of creating a book, but this seems like a great idea. All my paintings have a story. Some more than others, but they all convey a message. Sometimes I already have a story in the head, but when I start to paint the history mixes with new myths, thus creating new stories during the process. I often try to summarize the whole story that happens inside the painting in the title of the piece.
SH: If you could create any art project and time and money were not an issue, what might it look like?
FC: I was recently living in a paradisiacal island in southern Brazil. In one part of this island, there is a fishing village and I imagined myself painting all
those boats. Imagine several small and colorful boats on the sea, seen from the beach. It would be lovely!
SH: In an interview with Juxtapoz you shared how you have always wanted to draw at the ruins of Machu Picchu, and you just recently achieved this. How was your visit there?
FC: I didn’t remember that I had said this in some of my interviews.
But this is true. Machu Picchu was a dream because I have a lot of influence of the Inca culture in my artworks. It is very close to Brazil and fortunately I was able to visit it last month. Machu Picchu is a beautiful and magical place. I recommend going to all people.
SH: What do the when you’re in a creative dry spell or feel a lack of inspiration?
FC: I don’t know. I’ve never gone through a creative dry period. There are many things inside my head wanting to come to life.
SH: What is the best advice you’ve received and what advice would you give another artist who looks up to you?
FC: I don’t remember very well the advice I’ve received. I always believed in my work and did everything in my own way. I can say this for other artists; believe in your work, but don’t forget to be humble. Do something new and that you enjoy. Keep your mind open to absorb all the things without preconception. Then create something that comes from within you and smile.
SH: As an artist and person how are you different from who you were 5 years ago? Where do you want to be in 5 years?
FC: I haven’t changed a lot about myself as a person. I just obtain experience and knowledge. My art is more complex now and I’m able to create it in the way I want. My art is more spiritual. My idea is to live one year in each city, living with my art. However, although I do not even know where I’ll be next year, I still imagine that in 2020 I will continue to be doing art. So I’ll be happy anywhere in the world.