Nina Pandolfo is one of the Brazilian pioneers in street art, and now she is internationally celebrated as one of the most exciting contemporary artist. We all have seen her beautiful wide-eyed characters painted on the walls of Sao Paulo, visions from another world delivered to the people on the streets. We reached her to talk about her beginnings, her childhood dreams and future plans. Take a break to enjoy this exclusive interview.
Hello Nina, I spent my last two days trying to make a point on your endless production from street artworks to sculptures and … Well, there are too many beautiful creations to summarise in a few words. Help me, what do you see when you look back on all of this?
Wow, I’m not so good explaining my work, but it’s quite easy to tell you one thing:
everything I do today is something that comes from the past. Since I was a child I always had this style and these obsessions, the big eyes, the details on the characters, the patterns, the craziness and the idea to transform letters and numbers in characters. Recently I found some of my earlier drawings, and on them there’s the same attention to details that I crave right now. When i look back, i can see all my life, I can definitely see me! If someone wanted to know something about me, my life, and what i have lived, just look at my works chronologically!
It seems you never stopped working on your imagination, I can imagine how could be natural for you to express your feelings, but I’m interested in the hardest part, I mean, how do you play when something eludes your expectations?
Well, when I paint I always try to create, and if something is not going in the right direction, I stop paint for a while but my mind goes on. So when I come back to my drawing I can see the result of my never stopping brain-running.
Would you be able to explain how a new work born? Is it something that surprises you or is it always the result of a specific pattern?
Usually I have a specific time during the day to create new works and studying new solutions or a brand new color palette.
But you know, I think the better ideas come from the unexpected, during a walk in the park or a dinner out.
Many artists expressed their estrangement from their works, as if their painted canvases were no longer their own. What do you feel towards your past and recent works?
They’re definitely a part of me. It’s like when you look back to an old photo of yours. A picture taken during a party, or in a beautiful place, a one with my love…It’s my life, it’s what I felt, it’s me.
Tell me a little bit about your beginnings, how did you emerge from the Brazilian scene, was it something natural or did you have to work hard to find your space?
Well, working hard is the only way I know to work! And in Brazil it’s not so easy to emerge for an artist.
What was your urgency in starting painting on the walls outside, and what did you find during this process?
Before to start painting outside, I painted a multitude of indoor canvases. I think I was 12 when I started looking outside my studio and being focused on the streets. My idea was to making art for the people on the streets. In Brazil a lot of people, especially young people does not have time for visiting museums or art galleries, they have a tight schedule on hard working. And this was my urgency at that time, making something that could be enjoyable on the urban walls for free.
And what about now, what pushes you through your art, what’s the engine power of your motivation?
Well, I still love doing pieces on the streets, I still try to give power and love and happiness to the people which sometimes forget to dream.
In your artistic process there have been many collaborations with major artists, how did you managed the pleasure of working with some friends with the need to express your style?
Well, when I work with a friend it’s very easy to understand each other. It’s like having a comfortable coffee chat. When I work with a new artist it’s a little bit different, but it could be more challenging trying to enter his world and trying to find a perfect balance between our worlds.
What do you find interesting right now in the Brazilian scene, is there any particular artist that blows your mind?
Well, there are so many! The Brazilian scene is active and pretty big! I love Thiago Toes, he has a great style! And I love Finok!! But believe me, there are so many incredible artists I’d like to mention here..
What do you think of the evolution of street art, I mean the birth of festivals in every city of the world and all the artistic business related to it?
I like it so much, everything is popping up, the festivals, magazines, sites, stores, …. It’s amazing!!!
It’s more easy nowadays to know what happens in the world, to meet new artists, it’s definitely a revolution…
I’d like to grab some questions from the Proust Questionnaire: What’s your favorite virtue?
I’m not sad for long when something bad happens
Your main fault?
Being a stubborn
Your idea of happiness?
Enjoy my life with all the little details!
If not yourself, who would you be?
How you wish to die?
Very old, still painting and in good health
What is your present state of mind?
Calm and happy with my new show!
After hundreds of pieces is there still something you’ve always wanted to do, but have yet to?
What would be your dream project? I mean theme, location, size …
Of course i still have some a dream project and maybe i will ever preserve it!
We need to dream! I can’t imagine my life without dreams! I don’t care if it is a small dream or a big one, if it is hard or easy to get! I just need keeping my dreams ahead! Right now i’m thinking about making some glass sculptures, some big blown glass sculptures!
What’s next for you? What shows or projects do you have planned?
Well, my next show will be in London next year!!!