BRAZIL: Graffiti and Urban Creations from São Paulo – Interview with awesome artist OTITO

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First, tell us how it all began. Let’s provide some history of your artistic development for the readers. How did you come to art? How did you learn and what was important in your development in the beginning?

I was educated and influenced by cartoons and comics, which inspired me to develop some drawings on paper, even creating a comic book at school together with some classmates. Needing to contribute to my family’s income, I started working and having to go to the most central region of the city. There I began to notice and got inspired by the most diverse writings and drawings on the walls I passed by. And so in 1989 I created a typography for the name R.A.P.T.O. I then left the sheets and papers and began to intervene on the walls with paint, roller and spray paint. This is how I continued until mid-1995, when I began to study Hip Hop graffiti and started to learn about its styles and techniques. And at this time together with some friends we decide to write “Dos Mil Família”.

You are a king artist, but you also support younger generation and teach wisdom to the “new” ones. What is your philosophy about this?

I believe and have faith in the simultaneity of cause and effect, just like the lotus flower that is born, blooms, and distributes its seeds. I continue at the same time learning and teaching, sharing my knowledge and this is how I develop my community and my friends, thus practicing the philosophy of the inseparability of life and its environment, where in order to develop I need that everything around me also develops.

Your style is lettering and you are a writer. You put the letters on the wall in many different styles and colors. Tell us more about it. They are just single letters, but you can represent them in so many ways.

Yes, I am very identified with the style of painting letters, and I feel very good doing it. I realize there are no limits to it and I’am always looking for different and nice combinations. I feel the letters are alive, and with each new paper I sketch them on and for each new project it gets newly developed and executed. It is a wonderful path to follow with typography, pix, throw-up, piece, wildstyle or 3D. My letters are more of a piece style but they also have a certain wild style feel to them, and thus I have made them known as Humble Style.

Are you only anchored in the letters and the graffti or do you also do figurative and characters?

I participate in some collective “thematic” murals, where it is necessary to make some drawing in my handwriting and collaborate with the construction of a background, this is a challenge and I always enjoy the result very much. I have characters that I have created over time and I also do some work with figurative drawings on demand. But nothing compares to the pleasure I have in developing and executing letters. Letters are very contradictory and little is said about the letter in the history of art. It is very fun this idea of turning the letter into a drawing and make it compose and harmonize with scenery, perspective, figurative or abstract drawings.

Your graffiti artworks shine. They look like a glowing, strong and colorful bright spot. You probably taught yourself many of these effects. And probably learned from others. How did you learn and what people were your role models?

For sure my connection with Dejoe, Inka, Greb, Riots, Shenol … were very important for my development as a graffiti writer, being able to receive them here in São Paulo and having the opportunity to meet and paint in Berlin are experiences that totally influence my painting and composition strategy. Always keeping my roots with the straight pixação letters, practicing and building with my friends that are the most diverse and genius. Thug Alone, Milgrau, Boleta, Secura, Dhest, Insonia, Sick, Bone, Pixote, Ethos… are great artists and friends that contribute a lot to my learning and my references.

Let’s talk about the tools you use to create your artwork. Is it exclusively spray cans? Or do you also use brushes, other paints or tools? Tell us a little more about your repertoire of instruments.

Yes, a good quality can is the best tool for me, an airless machine to zap the wall with floor paint is a guaranteed success, foam rollers, brushes, latex and water-based enamel paint help a lot, pens, markers and stickers cannot be missing, and when possible an acrylic varnish for protection and durability.

 

How do you paint a piece, how is the artwork created? Sure there is sometimes a process of planning, but it often just comes from feeling and momentum? How would you describe that?

In the beginning it is good to know the place where I am going to paint, it makes it easier to plan and make the work richer in details, I can research and sketch a reference to give me a base when it is time to paint. When possible I like to divide the work into two or three stages to conclude it. There are paintings that are very fast and I have to make the decision at the moment of how to intervene in the place. I believe that this is also very good, to adapt, to channel effort, time, intelligence, and sensitivity towards what I believe to be my way of life and social contribution. For me it is a privilege.

 

Tell us more about the other artists around you. What are the names of your crews and the collectives you’re involved with?

I really have many good artists and friends around me and I am very grateful to all of them without exception. Since 1995/96 some friends and I decided to write “Dos Mil Família” in our graffiti. My spray partner Meduza is with me since before that, my daughter Miki and my brothers Zagz and Dog2 keep this idea as well alive. We developed the project “Art for Citizenship” with graffiti workshops, valorization of local artists, cultural and artistic presentations together with the masters Alex Vint3, Rodrigo Tik1 and Obrigado Crew. I am part of the Crews: The Students Note 7, Extreme East Ghetto, Alt.169, Gangue do Alfabeto, Fala que eh Nóis, Abstract illism, Subjetivo Humano Coletivo, Ducontra, “Nada.?.Somos” and R.A.P.T.O., where I could participate and contribute with drawings or actions of intervention and collective construction.

 

How is the graffiti scene in Sao Paulo and in Brazil? How did it develope over the years and how do the state and the police deal with it? Is there a lot of repression?

Here in the city of Sao Paulo around 80/90 the media and society have created a myth that pixação and graffiti are different. Pixação is a big crime and graffiti art is to paint illegally, argue that it is graffiti and get away unharmed. On the other hand this is also motivating a great hatred against pixação. There have been cases of murder and extreme violence by the police and even the population itself went against pixadores. But pixação and its practitioners are developing too much, especially here in the city and all over Brazil. They are gaining art status in the world, as well as all other forms of expression on the walls, like sticker, collage, stencil, pixo or graffiti. It is all in constant challenge and development. I am pleased to see old school artists in activity and I appreciate the quality and dedication. Many gigantic works and many new people are coming up. It is also true that it is necessary to go back to the source, to return to the primordial point. I believe everything has already been done, and it is always necessary to maintain respect for the origins. It is up to each one to do it their own way and write their own story.

 

 

 

 


INFOTHEK

  Artist:  OTITO  –  SIDNEI SIMON OTITO

  Email:  otito2000@gmail.com

  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/Otito2000

  Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/otito2mil

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/Otito2000


Crew:  DOS MIL FAMILIA  –  2 MIL FAMILIA

  Email:  doismilfamilia@yahoo.com.br

  Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/2milFamilia



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