Meeting Ál Varo
As Luanda born artist ÁlVaro Tavares D'Guilherme talkes the brutalism of creation and the grinding struggles of making a vision come to life, a spirit truly lifted comes to the fore.
WRITTEN BY GIULIA ENGLER. PUBLISHED: MAR 10, 2023
"Sê plural como o universo" is said by the Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. And thus he defies the modern urge to break down the human figure into the trivialization of definement. His radical-changing yet decisively curated Instagram feed speaks to a corresponding reciprocity in thought: ÁlVaro isn't to be brought down to the letter.
Currently based in Berlin and New York, "magical city" he states, the objective to creation he pursuits is the fervent instant conversing concrete reality, embodied on the canvas. A firm will of resistance to ready-made narrative looks back at the viewer from ÁlVaro's artworks; a raw poetry.
On our interview the artist reflects upon his process of creating, the doing of outer influence and the significance of the spectator's perception.
"no limits, there will never be.
Free to add to the culture."
WHERE ARE YOU TO FIND INSIDE YOUR ARTWORKS?
Everywhere, when I'm in control of it, sometimes they find me.
WHAT IS A SOURCE YOUR POWER OF IMAGINATION IS COMING FROM?
Everything mostly from life.
Berlin, Paris or NYC streets have a lot of influence on it,books and mythology,.
i also must admit spending hours in a museum.
WERE YOU TAUGHT HOW PAINT OR DID YOU LEARN IT ALL BY YOURSELF?
well, I do know how to capture things, I'm interested in representation
of a form or figure or mask references.
I've passed 8 years of my childhood in Luanda, during the civil war.
At times drawing in the sand or making handmade “lodo” toys, was my time well spent and
that kept me happy.
When my parents sent me to Europe I realized that what I was doing was art!
Then I developed it and still do.
As a teenager,I dropped out of my art school and self educate from there.
I was 17, then I made tattoos and t-shirts for extras. Took me to do more and more paintings,
works that I wouldn't show to anyone at that time.
presence, sorf of violence...at the end of day the work talks by itself.
The subject is already in the action of making it,
and the performance of creating also can be defined and funded.
HOW DOES YOUR ART SPEAK? WHAT DOES IT VOICE SOUND LIKE?
IS IT IMPORTANT TO BE UNDERSTOOD?
big part it's intentional to be understood,
other times a presence turns into the privilege just to be observed.
"a piece can decide by itself if it's ready or not,
it will deal with inner voices guiding you a
hundred ways, but a work never ends."
DO YOU REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME YOU KNEW YOU COULD ONLY EXPRESS IT THROUGH ART AND GOT THE COURAGE TO DO IT?
I always knew, as a teenager.
I spent a lot of time alone. It took me to draw massively at the bus,class,library, whereever I could. My drawing Teacher at highschool once told me that if i really wanted i could make it and somehow that woke me up and added to my confidence to express.
There were moments I doubted but I was so assertive about it, that responsibility led me to encourage the process also to accept myself.
It sounded like an impossible mission, the truth is if I'm not painting or
working in my practice I do not feel alive and I get really moody,so there's
always “to be or be”.
WHAT ARE OTHER ARTISTS THAT INFLUENCED YOUR WAY OF CREATING?
curiosity I've been drawing before I got connected to some certain influence,cartoons
definitely had a big role, i felt my experience was the influence and for some reasons,
i pumped into other artists and it was all organic from that point.
Robert Nava is someone I've met in NY shortly,
whom I estimate the path as the bodywork language.
An eclectic thing.
HOW YOU MAKE YOUR DECISIONS IN AN ARTWORK?
IN THE PROCESS, HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT SOMETHING IS RIGHT OR WRONG FOR THE PAINTING?
it's all in the process,for me.
A piece can decide by itself if it's ready or not, it will deal with inner voices guiding you to a
hundred ways, but a work never ends.Sometimes you work 3 months and it looks finished and suddenly there ́s one day you're back to the studio and paint over it, I respect the process and timing of making it.
When I know it's finished it's a victory day and I can enjoy a glass of wine.(what is rare)
FOR AN ARTIST, IS IT A GOOD THING TO FEEL SAFE AND SECURED, OR IS IT DAMAGING THE ART?
Well that's a good question, yet I do not know what it means.
I do agree that with better conditions and material the chance to have more possibilities and mediums are unique and great.
Comfort zone it's something that I haven't tried yet, if so I'll let you know.
WHAT ARE LABELS GOOD FOR?
It gives a better idea of the possibilities to where things can or not belong.
"Be healthy , purchase your dreams.
And work hard."
IS IT, THAT YOU AND YOUR ARTWORK ALWAYS HAVE THE SAME OPINION?
Yes, we do. It's important to know that the work reflects an emotion.
WHAT IS AN OVERRATED STANDARD IN SOCIETY?
I guess Privilege,depending on how you use them.
A POEM OR PLAYLIST YOU LOVE?
Lately I've been listening to Sun RÁ and jazz, and rap.
Poetry:Ode Triunfal & desassossego by Fernando Pessoa.
HOW IMPORTANT IS THE APPROVAL OF OTHERS
IN THE ARTIST'S WORK?
It's always good to exchange opinions with other artists and speak about things, you see,
it helps to bring new ideas and create different methods to add things together.
I do not agree that validation it's something that an artist wants/needs but yet, to belong to
the artistic environment, it keeps the flow and learning.
WHEN DID YOU DECIDE FOR YOURSELF
TO BECOME AN ARTIST?
My High School was in a small village in Lisbon. I was 16 years old in drawing class. I asked to leave in the middle of it as I couldn't sit and make the best drawing to please my teacher as the rest of the class did for her requirement. Consequently I went to the library and read the newspaper.
At that moment I realized that I wanted to make an artist career so from that moment I did.
WHAT'S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVISE
THAT SOMEONE EVER GAVE TO YOU?
must be said from my parents definitely.
Be healthy ,Purchase your dreams and work hard.
ARE THERE LIMITS TO ART?
no limits,there will never be. Free to add to the culture.
ÁlVaro Working Progress
For inquiries about ÁlVaro Tavares D'Guilherme's artworks go to the linked website.