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Walter Vasconcelos
January 2009
DPI Magazine / Taiwan
posted:

Awhile ago I was contacted by Sasha Weng from DPI magazine, asking me to feature some of my illustrations and an interview in their design magazine. I got a big surprise on Sunday when I found a parcel from Taiwan waiting for me. It was a couple of copies of DPI magazine. Although I know NO chinese or taiwanese language, I can tell from the content and quality of people working there, it's an amazing magazine.

Spreads
VIV magazine / USA
My interview:
Could you share your background with us?
My father always worked with illustration. I grew up surrounded by drawings, comic books, graphical art pieces. My father used to work for publicity agencies, and I loved to see those international annual catalogues full of images and letter fonts. I started working as a commercial illustrator very early, which gave me a lot of experience and also a lot of "un-pleasance". My drawings always had good quality and good acceptance, but I felt it very "commercial" and "standardized", very much similar to many other artists'. I took the risk for the change, a quest for my own style, not only for the traces, but also for the concepts. I moved forward in this process for the last 15 years, and have learned that ability is one thing, but creativity is by far much harder to master. I think I could achieve an interesting mix, my work always dialogues with illustration, graphical design, plastic arts. It is becoming more "abstract" and free. As a matter of fact, the important thing is to open new paths and always keep an open mind.
What are the messages which you trying to say from your art work?
I must be sincere. When I start drawing I try not to think of "messages" or "concepts". I make some small sketches by hand, go to the computer and start the composition of my illustration work. From my point of view, there is always the aim for authorial work. When I receive a text for a magazine or newspaper, I try to adapt it to my graphical universe. Sometimes, on the dependence of the editor of art, or the author of the text, the illo is approved in the first version. But many times it is necessary to go a cycle of changes and adaptations - which is consistent with editorial business. I would like to draw always in a more light and ludic way, but it not always possible when working in a commercial basis. I think it is important to participate on exhibits and independent publications; it is a way of give live and visibility to my drawings with no kind of pressures.
What was the first art work you draw? How did you get start with it?
I started by producing silk-screen drawings for t-shirts; after that, I published my drawings in independent magazines, and gathered a small portfolio. Then I looked for work in commercial magazines, and had my first published drawing in a feminine magazine. It was just an spot, but it made me so happy. Since this first one, I didn't stop drawing.
Where do you usually get the inspirations?
I have a passion for images - any kind of images… Old documents, stationary, market bags, photographs, magazines, newspapers, etc. These materials have always been a source of inspiration to me. I have recently bought a book with ancient maps. I look to the maps and "abstract" the cartographical information, and focus the forms, colors and graphic components. This kind of inspiration often occurs to me, to look at an image and see it out of the accepted or conventional meaning of its contents.
What kind of books do you love to read?
I always read anything that came into my hands. Newspapers, comic books, history books, poetry. Presently, I'm reading "Matisse by Matisse", a great book with the artist's thoughts about his work. It's a testimony on the History of Modern Art in the very moment it was being built.
Which illustrator do you admire the most?
That question is hard to answer. There are so many fantastic illustrators that it would be unfair to mention only one. To get a focus on the History of Art, I'd mention Picasso, Miró, Matisse, Saul Stainberg, George Herriman, Basquiat and the amazing Bill Traylor.
If there is going to be the ends of world soon, what will you want to do for your life?
That would be terrible, I imagine all the TV channels with journalists, politicians, priests and prophets talking and screaming all the time... I'd like to be with my wife and my daughter, watching some old "Bugs Bunny" cartoons and tasting my last cappuccino cup.
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