Another self-made living legend on the pages of Gozamos, Eduardo KOBRA will amaze you and teach you a little something at the same time. He just finished his pieces down at Miami’s Art Basel, and we talked for awhile about what the craft means to him. Through our conversation, I felt the artist’s passion and love for what he does. Street art means many different things to many different people, but Kobra’s unique style is something any aficionado can appreciate. Without further adieu…
Gozamos: Describe for our readers the street art scene in Sao Paulo and in Brazil.
Kobra: The first thing is that the colors and style is influenced by what you would see in 1970s to 1980 New York City. We have been allowed much time and freedom to finish what we are doing. There is no political oppression or worrying about police and arrest. We are allowed to work much more freely. As a result, Sao Paulo and Brazil has developed a very unique style.
Tell us about your experience at Art Basel in Miami.
There were so many street artists working at the same time. Wynwood was the biggest amount of street art I’ve seen at one time. I was very pleased to paint a one hundred square foot wall.
How was your work received there?
The welcome has greatly exceeded my expectations. Everyone was super nice. Super welcome crowds looking on as I painted my mural. My work is different. I’m bringing back history, looking through the history of every city I visit to influence my creation there. At Art Basel, it was Miami in the 1930s presented in 3D.
What inspires you to create?
Always, first and foremost, I am a collector of vintage images related to the ‘20s onward. Taking images out of books and interpreting them into works. At the Anniversary of La Avenida in Sao Paulo, they did not understand, so it created discussion about images I had created on the giant mural. The preservation of the historical aspect brings back to memory certain emotions. Also, I find inspiration in the generational and cultural changes that occur every 20-30 years.
How did you start off as an artist?
Well, my mom gave me some colors and paints when I was eight or nine years old, but I dove completely into graffiti in my late teens. I had employment at a bank, and I was studying, but I left everything (against my family’s will) to take my own direction. From age 18-20, I was exchanging paintings for food, clothes, a place to stay, whatever. When you love what you do, the recognition eventually comes out…
Compare and contrast for us The United States and Brazil in terms of street art and murals.
Of course, everything is under my own perception and personal opinion, but in America it is very hip hop influenced. Hip hop related fonts and art. In Brazil, everybody has a different approach. Some will take a sponge and bucket to a wall covered in dirt and smog and make art by cleaning. I see artists taking their work from canvases and galleries and moving them to the streets. The languages in Sao Paulo bring the style and uniqueness. The heart of street art in Sao Paulo is at Villa Magdelena.
What are some of your favorite themes to explore?
Something that interests me the most is scenery. I like to incorporate architectural aspects, clothing back in the time, several different aspects (to recreate a point in time). I like action in my work that brings the looker back to a certain era: a policeman switching the traffic light, etc. I take the image and give it a moving interpretation with costumes. For example, New York in the ‘40s with old ladies dressed a certain way and gentlemen wearing hats.
Can you verbally elaborate on Greenpincel and what you hope to accomplish and achieve from this work?
I love to do my own work, and I am very active in my murals. I’m very influenced by the happenings around me. The treatment of certain animals and species really angers me. Pollution, Amazon deforestation, especially animals, I like to fight for them.
Is it unfinished or a permanent work in progress?
This will never, ever stop. As I get influenced and sensitized, I need to transmit messages and communicate on the walls, because people will always be looking at walls. I will always create more and more. It frees me.
Kobra has just finished participating at Art Basel down in Miami, and I am taking it upon myself to him a wall or two to paint here in our humble city in April/May of 2012. If you have suggestions or proposals, send them directly to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org