Over the next few weeks we will be sharing interviews and podcasts by all of the talented artists who are part of the Nights and Weekends Exhibition. Each of these artists have plowed through the late night studio sessions, initiated large group projects, and made incredible works possible- all for the love of the project.
I would like to introduce artist, graphic designer, illustrator, and typographer, Antonio Rodrigues Jr. Antonio graduated from Visual Arts, University of Brazil in 2006 with degree in Fine Arts, studied illustration in London, and currently resides in Brazil. As a self-taught designer, Antonio has combined his love for drawing, type, and design into a massive collection of artwork, ranging from life-size posters to coasters, book covers to product design, prints and more. All of his work is beautiful, thoughtful, and unique, and it is clear that Antonio is not only a prolific and talented artist, but also a poetic maker and lover of many processes.
You have a fascinating body of work, ranging from photographs, to digital collages, products, typography and more! Could you tell us a little about your artistic practice? What is your process like? How do you choose your mediums?
Sure! In my studio, I have always challenged myself to be consistent, but not repetitive. It would be easy for me to include a particular style or technique in all of my projects (to preserve a certain aesthetic), but in the end, all the work would look the same- it would become boring and irrelevant. Instead, I like to challenge myself, asking what is best for that specific project. My work is all about telling stories, and for me, the stories speak louder than continuing a consistent language.
What are some of your largest subjects and most explored interests?
There are a few reoccurring threads in my projects. The first is color (in both uses of the word). I love connecting the audience with color- providing a colorful and meaningful experience, even if the piece is in black and white. Secondly, many of my projects are about fantasy and imagination. There is an origin of real people and real objects, but there is a sense of transformation into the fantastical.
Could you talk a little about the series you have in the Nights and Weekends Exhibition? What were your inspirations and intentions?
There are three different series that are featured in the exhibition. The first is a collection of floral typography cards, which originated as a personal project to combine polite phrases and florals to be used in a variety of ways- on billboards, bus stops, subway stations, street panels, greeting cards, etc. I wanted the project to act as daily reminders of kind words to help us endure the rigidness of our everyday routines.
The second was the Model project, including three giant illustrations of fantasy models. There is a distortion of scale and sense of realty, mimicking our own perception and lack of ability to see things around us as they really are.
I also had a series of faces paired with miniature type illustrations. The Face series is all about the mismatch of the things we are made of, and how it affects our sense of love, fear, and change.
It is rare that we see such a prolific self-taught artist. Can you talk a little about your resources, network, and how you promote yourself?
I’m blushing - such kind compliments!
I am constantly inspired by the people around me. I love to watch people on the streets- there is so much to learn from them! I often sit in a busy place and observe for hours. I am also inspired by music, architecture- both have rhythms, structures, and stories to tell, but leave history and parts to the imagination.
For resources, I have a great collection of design related books and magazines, plus a massive collection of online bookmarks that I check on a daily basis. When I lived in London, I would regularly go to the museums, galleries, and street markets. Visiting galleries has become part of my schedule when I visit a new city.
Self promoting is a huge part of working freelance. I spend time maintaining my personal website and sending samples to directors and publishers. Most of my work and connections come from Behance and my LinkedIn Networks.
Professionally, you do a lot of design work, branding, and logos. What are the differences and similarities in approaching professional and personal work?
The greatest differences for me between personal and professional is vision. When I start a personal project, I usually have a clear mental picture of the visual result that I am aiming for. When I work for a client, I often need to read their mind and use conversation and sketches to articulate their ideas. All other aspects are quite equal. I am always challenging myself to bring something different and relevant to the table. It doesn't have to be extreme and extravagant, but minimally meaningful and something to be proud of.
Are you a guilty creator? Do you feel guilty when you are not making or getting things done?
Definitely! I am hyper by nature and I always need to be engaged in some activity; it is not always related to my graphic projects, but eventually, all activities fuel my work.
What is the toughest thing you have had to do/make?
Work wise? I started my career over in my mid-thirties. I tried to become a designer in a field where most aspiring artists were a decade younger than me.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
‘Don’t settle: life is not short, but it happens pretty fast!’
That was what my mom told me when I was uncertain about leaving it all behind and trying to start a new path in London.
What are some of your favorite sources? artists? Books? Media?
In the Fine Arts realm, I just can’t get enough of Amedeo Midigliani and Richard Long; among the graphic designers, I equally love the works by Stefan Sagmeister and by Mario Lombardo; in music I enjoy Mozart, post-grunge and everything in-between.
Thanks Antonio for telling us all about your artwork, process, inspirations, and aspirations! You can check out more of Antonio's work on his website here, on the Light Grey Art Lab shop, or on the Nights and Weekends Exhibition page.