!Hola Chicas y Chicos! La semana pasada, I had posted a wonderful video from two wonderful Brazilian artists known as Os Gemeos. These two brothers are sync from the mind with their dreamy creativity, and I couldn’t help but fall in deep infatuation with their world of yellow colored faced people. Here is a quick biography excerpt on Os Gemeos:
Os Gemeos (pronouced “ose zhe’-mee-ose.”) are two artists from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Born in 1974, they are identical twin brothers (Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo) and their name translates to “the twins” in Portuguese. In recent years Os Gemeos have gained international notoriety for their unique works created on the streets of Sao Paulo. They also paint canvases, make sculptures, and are both graphic designers and photographers.
In 1993, Os Gemeos met Barry McGee, who was in Sao Paulo on a painting fellowship. They became fast friends and immediately collaborated on pieces in the city. This experience opened them up to a wealth of information and mutual influence. As a result, their works changed from almost exclusively large murals to smaller, site-specific installations on the streets and in galleries. Since then Os Gemeos have exhibited their work internationally including exhibitions in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Cuba, and throughout Europe as well as numerous exhibitions in Sao Paulo and Latin America.
The first time I ever came upon Os Gemeos’ art was when I attended MOCA’s Art in the Street exhibit during the summer…….AMAZING! When I first visited the MOCA for the exhibit, my boyfriend and I had arrived an hour before closing. As we quickly rummaged through all the super cool street art, we came upon this bright and colorful room full of yellow faces and life. I felt as my heart had became enlightened, Os Gemeos’ art had put my secret black and white sorrow little world into Technicolor, yes cheesy I know. Another wonderful thing about Os Gemeos is that every object is a blank canvas to them; there are no art pieces that are similar nor repeated, it just keeps the viewer on the edge of their seat anxiously waiting for more goodies. Ah, I just can’t explain the feelings that rush into my heart every time I search for the creations of Os Gemeos. Although, I recently discovered these artists I can’t help but want to share them with everyone, and just throw myself into Os Gemeos’ world of yellow daydreams.
Q:How long have you both been painting?
OSGEMEOS : More or less twelve years.
Q: How did you get involved in graffiti?
OSGEMEOS : It was in the late eighties, more or less around ’88, we were into break dancing and we discovered graffiti from other countries. Before that we already wrote our name using latex and rollers.
Q: Who and what were your original influences to paint?
OSGEMEOS : We think everything influences us, not just from graffiti, but things we see everyday, what we see and hear, things from the city, even more so a city like São Paulo, totally out of control. We see things which force us to act, we can’t just sit in front of the tv or take our dog for a walk in the park…
Q: What motivates you to paint?
OSGEMEOS : Hate and love, living in a country where you have to survive, the simple look of a child asking for money in the street, living in a country where the government doesn’t care about you, where there are no laws, where people are paid miserable salaries and are still smiling, waking up sometimes and realizing it was only a dream. Idolatry, lack of union, vanity, ego, jealousy, people who need others to be somebody, people who use the others, love, we are proud to be brazilians and from São Paulo, to know that what we believe in exists, to write incorrectly in portuguese, to live some moments that seem eternal, to use firecrackers in the street, to build fires in the street, to tell lies to the police, to know that our family loves us, to do things without thinking, using latex and rollers, to paint in the street with out clothes dirty from paint, to go up on a ladder without a shirt, to be from South America, to use the city, ugly things, to know we fly in the fog, to float paper boats in the rain.
OS GÊMEOS :What is a normal life?
Q: When did you start getting serious about your own style?
OSGEMEOS : It’s funny, sometimes the word “style” is a limitation, for example, you have a style and that’s it, sometimes people who can’t draw or paint have more style because they have never drawn before. We always draw, we always try to be ourselves, to develop our drawings, at first we copied other artists we liked, our older brother Arnaldo draws and our mom too, they always influenced us, we grew up watching our brother draw and he never worried about style, we think its a natural thing, you are born with it, you can perfect or kill that inocent part of your style, nowadays our style is a mix of everything we like. Since we were young we took drawing very seriously its funny to arrive at this point and realize we are born with a certain style. One day our friend Speto said you take everything you like about other artists, mix it with your own, and this blend is the beginning of your own style. That’s what we’ve done, and it helped us.
Q: How would you describe your own style?
OSGEMEOS : A tiny boat in a huge sea, with all its infinity and surprises.
Q: Would you say your own style is typical of Brazilian graffiti?
OS GÊMEOS : A long time has passed since we started painting and we have always been searching to portray our own culture, in Brazil we have a rich culture, with lots of folklore plus pichação, we’ve seen a lot of things, experimented a lot of others, but for us being brazilian speaks louder, if we have that, why follow any rules? Rules were made to be broken, we have many things inside us and we need an outlet, it doesn’t matter what it is called, we go on doing what we feel good about, regardless of whether it will please others or not, we have much to learn, to discover, we have traveled a lot and met many great artists, but when you leave a country where much has happened without any influences from outside, you are faced with something raw and true, like a root in a tree, and many people will try to add things to it, decorate its branches, paint it, cut, you know, but one thing you can’t chang are its roots. Our brother Arnaldo planted a tree and the landlord of the building where it was located removed it. He planted it again elsewhere and a while later a drunk driver hit it with his car. Yet, even after this, the tree continued to grow.
Q: What influences has your local scene had on your graffiti?
OSGEMEOS : We think first we allow ourselves to be influenced by anything that would be good for our work, then it becomes natural, and we are able to walk what we call our own path, we think everything inside this “play” is part of the show and must be enacted.
Q: Were you influenced by the Heavy Metal cover style of graffiti?
OS GÊMEOS : Some people say this, but I think it goes beyond that, at the beginning of pixacao many writers were influenced by the desire to go out and paint their names in a manner which could be easily read from a distance, in a legible manner. Many were influenced by what was going on the in the underground here, like the Ratos de Porao (classic brazilian punk band) album covers, and others, and a straight and original sao paulo style developed. our style.
OSGEMEOS : According to stupid research these two colors cause anxiety and hunger in stupid people.
Q: You also mention latex’ – what is this and why do you use it?
OS GÊMEOS : Latex? Latex is paint for walls, ceilings, floors, anything. We use it because it is cheaper, its easy to find and covers very well, and it has everything to do with what we want to say.
Q: You paint very recognisable characters – what is the inspiration for these?
OSGEMEOS : Our life in a general way, good and sad things from life.
Q: What advantages do you think painting as twins has?
OSGEMEOS : The grace of being brothers and living in the same world, to be able to share feelings and stories together.
Q: Describe the relationship between yourselves when you are painting?
OSGEMEOS :Its all one thing we do what we feel like doing, its already done. Our mission is that we think the time to paint is sacred.
Q: Would you say there is telepathy at work?
OSGEMEOS : Yes, now we are like this: I think and my brother does what i just thought. He thinks and i automatically do or say what he just thought.
Q: What other countries have you painted in?
OSGEMEOS: We paint in São Paulo mostly, but we’ve been to many other places recently: Germany, France, Spain, Portugal, USA, Australia, Greece, Chile, and Argentina. Q: Which did you enjoy most and why?
OSGEMEOS: We like to watch soccer games on tv on sundays…
Q: How is painting in other countries different to painting in Brazil?
OSGEMEOS : Very different, but we must adapt to the different places. Its good to take a little of our history and style and exchange experiences with artists from other countries, one of the most important things is to realise we don’t know anything, that we have much to learn, the more you think you know the more you limit yourself, its tough to think you’re any good and then see the moon, the sun, the rain, a simple tree…
Q: What will Os Gêmeos be doing in the future?
OSGEMEOS : The future belongs to god and we think everything must be done now and today. We’ll see about tomorrow, tomorrow.
Os Gemeos ‘ work is not only original, but super cool indeed! If you want to find out more about them, or just want to rummage around for more neat art from Os Gemeos, Go to these sites:
Lost Art: http://www.lost.art.br/osgemeos.htm
Os Gemeos’ Blog: http://www.12ozprophet.com/index.php/os_gemeos/
Os Gemeos’ Website (Portuguese): http://osgemeos.com.br/