I discover Valdi -Valdi a few month ago “Street Art Best of 2016 “. Here’s my interview of one of the most creative and talented Brazilian artist !
Can you tell us where you from ?
Hello, Laurent. Thank for the invitation and for let me spread my words. I really admire Streetart360 articles and it’s a great pleasure
to be here. I was born in a small island in south of Brazil, called Florianópolis. Besides the travelling time, I do still live in the island
with my wife. It’s a very calm place, surrounded by paradisiacal beaches and fisherman houses, the place people dream to take vacations one day. Floripa, how it’s called here, is the capital of the state of Santa Catarina, a town with a new growing cultural and economical scene.
Where does your artist name from ?
It’s a very funny story and i will try to be brief. Valdi is not my last name, as many people believe, it’s a childhood nickname that stucked on me. It began one day, i was 10 years old, and let my hair grown for a couple months. The problem was that i have wave-hair, so when it got long, it didn’t felt down, my hair won over gravity an kept growing toward. So I went to school one day and a friend yelded: “Hey Thiago, you look like Valderrama.” For those who do not know this name, Valderrama was a very popular Colombian soccer player, the guy with the biggest hair in the football history. So being bad as a child can be, this friend of mine just created a horrible nickname for me: Thiago the Valderrama boy. But I was also a bad boy at the school so i felt cool with that nickname and didn’t get angry at all with that. However a girl of that same school, in the middle of everyone once said: “Hey guys, Valderrama is a ugly name, i think Valdi-Valdi
is more cute”. Done! From that day on, people know me as Valdi-Valdi, but most of them do not know this story. Besides that, I discovered that the word Valdi is a ancient Nordic language name, that means: power, energy, the one who guide, mighty, eternity and vitality. This new meaning for my nickname is something that really makes me think about how far I want to go on art and life.
Made me look inside and reach out this energy, to assume the real potential I could have. I thought it was meant to be.
How do you define yourself ? Artist ? Street Artist ? graffiti artist ?
That’s a good question. In the beginning i was a graffiti artist because it was my main influence. A few year ago, with my work very different from the beggining, I understood that i was a Street Artist. Because graffiti and street art are different things for those who know the origins of graffiti. And today I define myself as a street artist muralist, because i like to paint big thinks in the streets, simple as that.
How did it all start ?
I always had this pre-disposition for art. My father was a great designer and a passionate for art, he used to bring me to the galleries.
Nevertheless i was so young that i would like to be somewhere else. But with the passing time I started asking him when we would see more of that, I wanted to see more art. So very early in my life i was a “every day designer” and “week gallery visitor”. It was naturalfor me, and my interest in visual art as comics, mangas and cartoons kept growing and took my full attention. That was my childhood, drawing and skating in the streets. So when I was ingressing in the Univesity years later, I met a few guys that was already painting in town, making graffiti. Very fast we became friends and I started my learning in graffiti and streetart about 2006. A few months later i met the whole graffiti scene in my town and had great masters to teach me techniques and the moral of a true urban artist. This influence my whole life, because I learned that the most important thing in the graffiti culture is respect and overcome yourself. I became much more brave, with attitude in things of my personal life.
So those are elements who define myself, but there were another important factor which took everything i was and push me foward in a blink of a eye. I had a bad experience and almost died at 2007, because a kind of heart attack caused by panic. That’s a very personal thing of my life, and there are very few times I tell someone about this, but it’s a crucial part of my art, changed everything. So I was having that moment of agony and really thought that It was the end, a very powerful feeling. And the last thing I said to myself before blackout was: “i strongly want to be an artist”. This simple phrase was the most truly feeling i had, but it was hided deep inside.
That bad experience unleashed in me the power of knowing myself, i was 18 years old. So I woke up next day totaly different, i saw, heard, tasted, and felt things in a new way. After that I began my path as a artist. And I always remember that day, that phrase.
What kind of music do you like ?
I do enjoy music and love to hear new good stuffs. But the things i hear are simple as: classic rock, blues, instrumental songs, some good
eletronic songs, my regional bands musics, brazilian classical songs as MPB, Rap and rock. Besides that, during my painting time i do not listen to any music, i paint with ambient sound. I believe the reason why is when you painting in the streets, using ear phones in a acustic isolation, you are now aware with your surrounding. I always listening to the city sounds because you have to know when something is happening, someone is talking with you or not. Other factor is the ambient sound influence my art, my state of mind, and i really like to experiment that. If the ambient is noisy and tense, the painting express that. If the local is calm with birds and wind sound, my painting looks light. It’s funny because even the strong noise and caotic enviroment can not make me loose focus and concentration. So 10 years painting like that became a habit. And in my atelier i do still painting with no artifical sounds at most of the time.
What inspires you in your artwork ?
I’m passioned by the ocean. Living constantly observing the waters you became to understand more about it. To distinguish the different colors, the humor of the waves, the temperature. Sometimes the ocean makes you fell fear, because it’s heavy, stormy, dark. But in other days the ocean makes you fee free and happy, the water is turquoise, warm and calm. The same way women has power upon us (men). The bauty, the eyes, the body, the perfume of women hair, the temperature of the touch. Florianópolis has worldwide fame for it’s feminine beauty, it’s already a cultural element of the town. With time my admiration by the sea became the same for women. We (men) can only observe this power of nature, women and ocean makes us feel small. We love and fear them, we admire the beauty of both and we can’t live without them. So that’s my main methaphore in art. I create portrait of beautiful and strong women, with penetrating eyes upon us, blue as the sea. Is my intention of making a portrait of the ocean itself.
Do you have specific message in your artwork ?
Yes, but i don’t think it’s a message. I believe it’s more like a feeling, something with no rational understanding. My art is for the sense. I would like my art could be as the moment that you cross eyes with your beloved one.
Are you only painting murals ?
The last years, with my work getting more attention, i started to paint canvas also. But before that my whole activities was for muralism.
The funny thing that is for me is strange to paint so small things, when I realize my canvas are 2.0 x 2.5 meters. I was used to paint on ladders.
Tell us about your specific technique of painting ?
My work has a great change a few years ago, when I decided to go more realistic style then cartoon.
I created a technique for perfect proportions, it’s personal way for the ancient grid technique. And with my 10 years of experience handling spray cans I discover a way to make nice glazes and transparences. With that my realistic style became very powerful, mixing street art and traditional painting techniques. Besides that rational techniques of art, i also had this will for expressionism painting. The strong and dinamic gestures matches with my view of the ocean forces, desires and feelings. So my art, in my point of view, mix the both sides of myself, rational and emotional.
Do you admire one or more artists ? And who ?
I do admire so many artists that is impossible to count or name it. For me is more simple to point an art movement like: the impressionists, The beginning of contemporary art, street art, japanese ancient art, caligraphy, old masters portraits.
Where did you paint ? countries ? cities ?
I had some nice invitations and could paint at New York, New Jersey, Barcelona, Milan, Mumbai and other places in Brazil.
Is there any cities that inspire you ? Or a dream to paint in one specific place ?
New york is a place that makes you with the feeling of comming back again. I already had a few times there and always had the feeling
that i’ll go again for sure. I do not have a specific place, but i know i’ll be traveling much more. The dream of knowing the world by
yourself is something that amazes me.
Passions apart of art ?
Everything is about art, family and friends.
Do you have projects in the next few month ?
I’m painting, for the first time, a long serie of canvas. This is something that i’m really excited about but I still can’t tell where the
canvas are going to be. But will be marvelous!
What is your favorite artwork ? Yours and another artist .
I really think my best artwork is not done yet. I fell my real world art is so distance from the art i have inside my mind. I do have a
long way for answer that question.
Thank’s a lot Thiago