Cranio /   Fabio de Oliveira Parnaiba

Brazil 1982

Street Art, Painting

Fabio de Oliveira Parnaiba
May 20, 2016
Alias of Jasmina Sevic, a researcher and author for Widewalls. She graduated from the Faculty of Political Science (Department for Journalism) in Belgrade in 2013.

If you’re an artist working in the streets, they are so much more than a simple location for your art. Streets become your window to the world, a way to communicate with the others, to tell a story about yourself and that you deem is important enough. Fabio de Oliveira Parnaiba, better known as Cranio, is a Brazilian artist who began his artistic journey on the streets of Sao Paolo. In addition to the beautifying his home city, and many cities throughout the world, he also started painting. The blue Indian characters have become his trademark. It all started as his desire to show the indigenous people from Brazil and all the troubles they’re facing in the unforgiving contemporary world, but the process has outgrown its original idea, and the characters and the situations they’re finding themselves in are now almost universally applicable.

Cranio - Falesias, 2016 (Left) - Choque Ne, 2016 (Right), images via Vroom & Vaorssieau
Cranio – Falesias, 2016 (Left) / Choque Ne, 2016 (Right), images via Vroom & Vaorssieau

Between Cartoons and Dalí

His mediums are acrylic on canvas and spray paint on walls, but he likes to mix them up a little, so some of his artworks are spray paint on canvases. All of his characters are reminiscent of Brazil, whether they are wearing a sports jersey or carrying a Brazilian flag, but the themes Cranio explores are universal. Inspired by the life around him, he tackles the issues of political corruption, environmental disasters, or the ever-present and never-stronger consumerism. His themes are dark indeed, but instead of depicting the things exactly as they are, he rather includes the elements of humor, making them easily digestible without giving up on the significance or the power of the messages that the artworks are sending. The artist is heavily influenced by cartoons and the work of Salvador Dalí.

The artist is inspired by the life around him

Cranio - Marionette Money, 2016 (Left) - Totum, 2016 (Right), images via Vroom & Vaorssieau
Cranio – Marionette Money, 2016 (Left) / Totum, 2016 (Right), images via Vroom & Vaorssieau

The Big Brains

His moniker is actually his childhood nickname he got while he was in school. He was the smartest kid in his class, so the other kids named him Cranio, someone with a big brain. Cranio means Skull in Portuguese and Brazilian. He began his art journey in 1998 by writing his name on the walls, influenced by graffiti from other artists he saw around the city, like Os Gemeos. It wasn’t long until he started drawing characters that gave a bit of humor to the grayness of the concrete walls. He’s a self-taught artist, who learned everything he knows about the art on the streets. Over the years, his technique and context, which are essential for his work, have improved drastically, without affecting the sharpness of the style he’s known for.

His technique and context have improved without affecting the style he’s known for

Cranio - Copa do Mundo, 2013
Cranio – Copa do Mundo, 2013

A Little Bit of Luck

It was luck that he was born in Sao Paolo, a city with a very strong culture of graffiti and a capital of the graffiti world today, according to many art critics. Cranio’s work is a mix of street art and fine art, where he depicts his own life, everything he sees, hears, or lives through. There is a lot going on in the world today – a lot of good, but a lot of bad as well. The artist takes great pleasure in criticizing everything he deems wrong.

He is represented by Vroom & Vaorssieau in Amsterdam.

Cranio lives and works in Sao Paolo.

Featured image: Cranio – portrait, photo credits

All images © Cranio

YearExhibition TitleGallery/MuseumSolo/Group
2016Amazonian DietVroom & Vaorssieau, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsSolo
2015CranioSan Paul Gallery, MiamiSolo
2015CranioLuis Maluf Art Gallery, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2015CranioMontana Gallery, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2015Group ShowCanvas Gallery, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2015Group ShowSan Paul Gallery, Miami, USAGroup
2014Group ShowLuis Maluf Gallery, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2014CranioBarcelona Culture World, Barcelona, SpainSolo
2014Space - SquaredWhite Walls, San Francisco, USAGroup
2013Graffiti BienalleLos Angeles, USAGroup
2013Wider Than a PostcardBreeze Block Gallery, Portland, USAGroup
2013Group Show with Insane One and Caio MorelOscar48, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
20132nd Graffiti BienalleSao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2012Red Bull SpaceZero Cool Gallery, London, UKSolo
2012Group Show Feira Parte, Sao Paulo, BrazilGroup
2012Group ShowZero Cool Gallery, London, UKGroup
2011CranioKabul, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2011TribosGaleria Traco Livre, Sao Paulo, BrazilSolo
2011O que tem de novoGaleria QAZGroup
2011CranioIQ Art Gallery at ChakrasSolo
2011Group ShowMAAU – Museu Aberto de Arte Urbana, Sao PauloGroup
2010Arte BancaBanca de CamisetasGroup
2009FreeArt Festival IIIBeco do BatmanGroup
2009FreeArt Festival IIGaleria de arte Monica FigueirasGroup