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Interview Highlights: André Saraiva

  • Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
  • Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
  • Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
  • Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
August 26, 2014

With a retrospective exhibition, or as the artist would say – a reflection on the “thinking and creative ventures” which made him a man he has become, André Saraiva talked to Hypebeast about the art on show, the graffiti beginnings and the sources and products of inspiration… Born and raised in Sweden, due to his Portuguese parents’ escape from Salazar regime, the artist who had left a significant mark on the early graffiti scene in the 1980s Paris returned to Lisbon, to remember a career of 25 years. A true witness of the contemporary art scene transformation

Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
Andre Saraiva, artwork

It Begins with Graffiti…

When he first felt the urge to paint walls and various objects of the urban space, André Saraiva, like many other street artists, had to create in world quite different from today: “There was no hip-hop on the radio, and no graffiti books or magazines. We had to go to car repair shops and hardware stores to find caps and Krylon spray cans. My friends would return from New York with a photograph, and we would study it for hours before trying to reinterpret it in our Parisian style.” Much has changed in the course of three decades: “Graffiti is a business. In my time, you had to fight to be noticed, both metaphorically and physically.” Those moments when it all had began will never fade from his memories: “A memorable moment was when I painted a big piece in Bastille. I was arrested and came back the next day to finish it.”

Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
Andre Saraiva, artwork

Inspiration

A source of inspiration for André Saraiva was never a questionable notion for the artist: “My love stories have always been my inspiration. I’m also inspired by my daughter, who brings me happiness.” As someone who has manage to transpire his activities outside of the world of artwork creation, the artist believes that the same inspirational drive fuels his incentive to work more: “All my projects fit with each another. It’s all one big creative endeavor. my work with Le Baron is an extension of my art. We just opened a Le Baron in Shanghai. I’ve never opened a club in China before. We conceptualized it as a club, but it’s also a social experiment. I enjoy balancing different projects at the same time: that’s where my energy comes from.”

Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
Andre Saraiva, artwork

The Exhibition

His presentation at Lisbon’s MUDE is a comprehensive collection of the artist’s work. He explains the change in Lisbon and its importance: “Os Gêmeos has come here to paint, and Vhils puts Lisbon on the map with compelling projects. Alongside the exhibition, I’m working on colorful 2,000 square feet ceramic art inspired by traditional Portuguese tiles.” For André Saraiva, the Portuguese cultural space has much significance: “I’ve been lucky to travel around the world because of graffiti. This show brings my tenure all the way back to my parents’ hometown; it’s gone full circle…” The exhibition is a mixed media experience, and it represents a story of one artist’s life and the body of creative work which should be remembered: “The exhibition speaks about my life, and shouldn’t be categorized as a graffiti show. (…) I’ve presented souvenirs and collectibles I’ve worked on through the years, from archive photos of old throw-ups, to Parisian mailboxes on which I used to paint. The show includes false concert posters with unbelievable lineups. I would put these posters up in different cities, and people would go to the venues, trying to book tickets.”

Interview Highlights: André Saraiva on Hypebeast
Andre Saraiva

Photos by: Arthur Bray/HYPEBEAST

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