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new york artist Fernando Araujo

::: bio/statement
::: expressionist paintings
::: artist interview

"I'm taken by the strokes, free, at the same time unaware of what’s coming next, being almost impossible to realize when to rest the brush."
Fernando Ferreira De Araujo

new york artist Contemporary New York Artist

Philip Mount

Fernando Araujo Artist Interview - March 2007

+1 ::: Why are you an artist Fernando, and when did you first become one?

Why am I an artist? Why do I breathe? Of course it’s figurative. But I feel that only as an artist I do not suffocate. I’ve always tried to live art through other people. I remember trying to promote friend’s work, being a volunteer in an art foundation in my home town. Since I’ve always been self conscious I believed I was never prepared to be an artist, for I had no former schooling. Only through so many rerouted roads I found myself in touch with my real bliss. I started to feel confident in showing my sketches and felt I was touching my soul as well others.

I realized I’ve always been an artist, a frustrated one, in the past, for had not being able to develop my soul through my paintings. Just like a bird that can’t fly, but still a bird. So…I decided to break out of the cage of stereotypes and bias and plunge into my soul. Decided to lose the fear of not being accepted first by accepting myself.

1989 was a real groundbreaking time for me. I was chosen by a local Museum in my home town to represent rising new talents. But I was still afraid. Only after years suffocating in fields that were not my element I realized I had to follow my bliss.

+2 ::: Could you tell us some more about your paintings?

If I had to label my painting I’d rather label them as Expressionist for they represent the struggle and turmoil I carry inside. Even though most of them can be identified as figurative or landscape portrayals, the process of giving colors and forms to my paintings is a total process that comes form inside to outside. There is always a seed but from that point on they grow independently from their source; for they are tampered with my emotion, my present feeling. I’ve painted the same idea many times and I can tell you they came out totally different. The more I paint the more I feel exposed. I feel like I learned something about myself I didn’t know.

+3 ::: Are your paintings of actual locations in the landscape or are they painted from your imagination?

The landscapes are 90% from places I’ve been, even though I paint them based on brainstorming them. The process flows naturally, not effortlessly. Only now I’m learning to enjoy not being in charge of what the next stroke will do to the whole painting. I’m still learning that there are no mistakes only discoveries. It’s great therapy for me. Since I like to control everything, being able to start enjoying not controlling my art is helping me in other fields of my life.

Right now I’m painting Sugarcane Fields, which were very present during my childhood. I close my eyes and imagine I’m back in time. Storms in general are fascinating and a merge of theses two series is becoming inevitable. Others I paint based on pictures of a trip or of another painting, but that’s only the seed the whole process evolves sometimes in a totally different direction. I used to get frustrated with that, but as I said I’m now learning to enjoy it.

+4 ::: What famous artists have influenced you, and how?

By far William Turner. He has always fascinated me. His painting “Rain, Steam and Speed” still strikes me like a bullet every time I look at it. Love the Sun Set over a lake and Moonlight as well. I even started a series called: “The way Turner turned me on” I have 5 or 6 pieces but never showed to anyone.

I also admire Berthe Morisot and Claude Monet very much. Influenced by these impressionist artists I found freedom on the expressionist way of expressing myself. Therefore I can’t leave aside Vincent Van Gogh and his struggle to be an artist after so many years as an art dealer. His post-impressionism path and all it represents.

+5 ::: What other interests do you have outside of painting?

Movies and traveling are my favorites. Chatting with friends drinking a fine red wine can be very inspiring and cheerful. Living in NYC allows me to take advantage of the great range of galleries and Museums. Last week I went to see at the Guggenheim “From El Greco to Picasso” Awesome.

+6 ::: What inspires you to paint and how do you keep motivated when things get tough in the studio?

Usually I see my previous paintings as unfinished pieces. Looking at their details and developing ideas from there is a very exciting exercise for me. I also have dreams that inspire me, so I wake up and take notes in order to remember in the morning. Looking at art in general triggers my crave for painting.

When things are tough I like reading notes and emails I received about my paintings, and now my guestbook on my website. It helps me keep focused on the fact that I’ve been able to express myself and touch people’s soul. When things are financially difficult, I try to keep my budget as low as possible and invite people I know appreciate my work over to the studio. I always keep in mind a figure I might be in need. As a miracle it becomes reality. Many times it’s more difficult than it seems.

+7 ::: How have you handled the business side of being an artist?

For many years I took commissions from Art Consultants and Interior Designers from Sao Paulo, Miami and New York. I haven’t been accepting for a while. I’m now more focused on developing my series and get into shows, competitions and more galleries. I must say I’ve been having a very positive response.

+8 ::: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?

I see myself more in tune with my inner self as an artist, and with good gallery arrangements that will allow me to travel as much as I need. I feel the need of having a studio for 6 months in Madrid and in Paris. I’m sure a lot will come out while there. But AFTER 10 year time I hope to settle back in Brazil in the country side in a cozy cottage-studio where I could develop a program to help poor young people find there way through art. I’m sure art can save ones life.

+9 ::: What's the best and worst parts of being a full time, working artist?

Definitely the best part is being able to manage our time based on our inspiration as it comes. The worst part is when inspiration doesn’t come when we believe it should come. I also have to agree that the business side and the financial ups and downs can be tough.

+10 ::: What advice would you give to an artist just starting out?

Establish a routine of developing your art. Keep in touch with your soul by developing your technique. There are no mistakes, so… just work. The more you work the more you’ll figure out if that’s your bliss. If that’s the case you’ll follow it, there is no way you can escape from it. After you know that art is what you ARE; try getting advise from professionals and taking part in shows and competitions. That will give you a pretty good experience. If you are not into academic or long term study, short terms are always a good idea. Sharing experience with other artists and the environment itself can be very inspiring.

More artist information can be found at the website of the artist.. Fernando De Araujo
View more artist interviews at here.. Artist Interviews

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