Born in Brazil, 28-year old artist João Paulo Alvares Ruas was still a young child when his interest for visual art started to grow. Comic books were his first bridge to lines and colors, during high school much of his time was devoted to creative thinking due to the almost alternative education institution he studied under. Later, he took Design as his choice in University. After a three year stint in London, João went back to his home town, São Paulo, where he works and lives.
Basically, if you look back into pretty much all the periods of Art, there is a connection between artistic production and mythology at some point or aspect. With series of works, I want to create my own point of view about some of these myths and create bridges that connect us and our time with those multi-faceted stories and characters.
Yes, of course. I want to go back to this again in the future. The theme is so rich and complex that I can see myself painting mythology in 10-20 years without being bored or out of ideas. It isn’t like I will paint only about this, but I will surely do other chapters.
The first thing I remember drawing were Peanuts characters.
When are you most productive / when do you normally work on art?
Afternoons and early nights. I am not a morning person and definitely I am not a fan about working late at night either, I only do it when it’s extremelly necessary.
Basically, I want to constantly experiment visually and yet keep a nostalgic feeling to my work. It’s a contrast, and my idea of creation is based on that purely, contrast and equilibrium. I don’t know if viewers can gain anything looking my paintings, but I want them to discover their own ways through the layers and maybe find something really meaningful to them.
At first I gotta say I sincerely didn’t want to do it because I knew my work would be instantly compared to James’, I was afraid to get a stamp on my forehead and pretty much destroy my almost unborn career. After a while though, I thought I needed to do it for myself really, to prove for me that I could handle that pressure otherwise in the future it could turn into something that I would regret forever. So I accepted it and I am simply treating it as a job, a very important one, yes, but I try to ignore that pressure.
Watercolor, Gouache, Acrylic on Heavyweight Fabriano
Tell us something about yourself that someone would never guess in their wildest dreams.
I seriously considered studying Geography in college.
Are you reading anything right now?
I bought this old used book called “Marvels of the Russian Novels” and it has short unknown (for me) stories from all the good ones, Gogol, Dostoiewski, Tolstoi, Gorki, etc.
Do you listen to music while painting/drawing? If so, do you have a current favorite that inspires?
For me that’s essential. My favorite bands are all from the 90’s, but I am really into the last Bat for Lashes album.
If you had to explain your work to a stranger, how would you do so?
I would say it apparently has surrealistic elements, but nothing is random. It is like a scripted dream.
Favorite artist (living or dead) and what makes them special to you?
My all time favorites are Degas and Klimt. Degas for his deep opinions about painting and obviously his masterful work, and Klimt for his constant explorations without any prejudice.
Well, I may show a couple of pieces in Europe later this year and another couple in december at the Art Basel with you and a full series next year again with you guys.
What are you doing right after this interview?
For a great read on João's background, check out Erratic Phenomena's write up here.
View shots of the piece "Enkindu & Gilgamesh" coming together for this May here.
Additional behind the scenes shots of João's work can be viewed here.
And also via his personal Flickr account here.
Last but not least, keep up with João via his site here.
'Inner Myth Pt.1'
Fri, May 8th 7-11PM in our project room (alongside Allison Sommers)
4210 Santa Monica Blvd (near Sunset Junction)
Los Angeles 90029