Of all of the cities I have visited to record street art, Sao Paolo has overwhelmed me the most. One artist whose work I fell in love with is Cranio. Cranio’s blue tribal men are a perfect combination of humor and pathos. Seeing little Amazonian men wrestling with technology and consumerism is a powerful way to discuss the tension between rural Brazil and destructive aspects of modern living. Additionally, Cranio’s sense of humour makes his art all the more accessible.
Inside Cranio’s Head
Cranio is my childhood nickname at the time I was in school. I was the smartest kid in the classroom so they started to call me Cranio. Cranio means skull in Portuguese and in Brazil that’s what they call someone with a big brain!
I started drawing when I was two! In 1998, 14 years ago, I started doing graffiti in Sao Paulo, influenced by graffiti from other artists that I saw around the city. I started writing my name Cranio using graffiti letters (I still do that), but I also made drawings of characters that could give a bit of humor to the walls. I’ve never studied art formally – I learned everything by myself. I guess art it’s inside my blood.
Sao Paulo has a very strong culture of graffiti; many art critics are saying we are the capital of the graffiti today. Many artists paint in the streets and depending on where you paint if the police get you they can arrest you against environmental crime. I’ve been arrested for graffiti. In Brazil even the police know what we are doing is considered art today. But if someone doesn’t like it and they call the police we get arrested and spend the night in jail. Generally though people accept graffiti a lot here and there’s always new artists. Street art in Sao Paulo is getting bigger every day!
What’s the meaning of my art? It’s just the picture of my life. My main influences are the things I see, hear and live. Lots of things are happening all the time, bad and good. I want to show things that are happening with the indigenous people living in Brazil in my art. Some of them are trying to adapt; others have adapted really well to capitalism; others are trying to sell the Brazilian rainforest to grab some money and cool iPhone. I love to criticize all of it!
My Blue Indian character came from my search of Brazilian characters. We live in a vast city made out of rocks today but believe me, we are all “Indians” in a great forest, hunting the things we need to live every day. The themes in my work reflect the daily work and life of the people who I watch in this huge metropolis of Sao Paulo.
The blue colour is the main characteristic of my characters; it relates to the imaginary and parallel world in which they used to live. I’ve been influenced a lot by Os Gemeos’ work but I have created my own character with my own details. Os Gemeos do amazing work and I am a great admirer of them!
I’m always trying to see what is happening around me and in the rest of the world. I’m always reading and paying attention to the global issues that are causing controversy between people, corruption, politics, etc.
Today I’m working in several fields: sometimes producing exhibitions in galleries, sometimes producing graffiti in the streets, sometimes making live paintings at events, and also lot’s of commissions from all over the world! Next October / November I’ll be painting in London! I’m planning to work hard and take my art to as many countries as possible for exhibitions or painting big walls and projects like I’m already doing in Brazil!