Art Asylum: Tell us about yourself, where do you live and your life style/background?

HighRaff: I´m 31 now, born and living in São Paulo, the biggest city in Brazil, a huge urban center with multicultural influences…

I live with Thalita and Nina, love to travel to the nature to scape from the busy life here and replace my energies, love skateboarding, chilling and listen to good music, eating good food and having good time with my family and friends.

Art Asylum: How did you come up with the name “HighRaff”?

HighRaff: Back in 2004 I´ve created this name with a little help from one friend, before this I was writing different names on the streets like NOIS, FUK an FDS among others, I was more into street bombing, hitting trains, throw-ups and tags…I started to focus on art, murals, canvases and more elaborated and positive pieces so I found necessity of a new name that expresses better this creative energy and new style.I was playing with some words like high, graphic, graffiti , Rafael, Raff and this mixing of words came up to me with a good sound “Highraff”, so this name was born together with my new inspirations and work style after 2004…

Art Asylum: Give us a little history on how and when you got into street art? Where you artistically inclined as a child?

HighRaff: One of my first toys was crayons and color pencils. I´m drawing since little child and always loved it…When I was a teenager I started to get interest in skateboard and street culture, punk rock and hip hop…I started to pay more attention for the graffiti around my town and collect pictures of every graffiti in the city, specially works from Os Gemeos, Herbert Baglione, Vitché, Tinho, Speto and Binho, writers from the old generation that were developing interesting styles 15 years ago. My interest for drawing, art and design was growing more and more then I´ve started in Graphic Design university in 1996, I met 2 friends in the school that had the same interest and will to paint. We created the name NOIS for our crew, got some spray cans and started doing our first pieces in the street around 1997.Well, this was the beginning…

Art Asylum: Do you have any formal education in art or are you self taught?

HighRaff: I´ve studied graphic design and graduated from university in 2001.

Art Asylum: You are most well known for you self-proclaimed “Psychedelic” style, Can you tell us how this style was developed?

HighRaff: I like psychedelic culture from the 60´s and 70´s, music and art so it naturally influenced in my work. About “self proclaimed” psychedelic style it was not exactly like this, first other people that described my art as psychedelic than I adopted this description… I can say I have a little psychedelic influence but I see my art much more as Organic than psychedelic style…

Art Asylum: Your paintings are very vibrant and alive, what is your approach to color?

HighRaff: It´s all about playing with contrasts to reach the balance with the goal of bringing a positive atmosphere for the composition.

Art Asylum: Before you start a piece, do you have a detailed sketch and are you fully prepared with color concepts? Is there room for spontaneity as you go along?

HighRaff: I never use sketches to paint. I never paint the same thing twice. I only have “mental sketches” when I see a wall. I visualize my work in the space and just paint it, always spontaneous… For the colors I try to create a pallet before starting, something that fits with the background and the place…

Art Asylum: How long does it take you to produce a piece?

HighRaff: From minutes to days, depending on size and place.

Art Asylum: Who or what are your greatest influences? Are there any artists from the past that may have influenced your work?

HighRaff: Nature is my biggest influence, plants, animals, organic life, all the divine creation…All art influenced my work from ancient tribal art to digital graphic design…

Art Asylum: If you could paint with anyone in the world, who would it be and why?

HighRaff: It will be with my friend Alexandre a.k.a. “Niggaz” who passed away some years ago…

Art Asylum: Do you consider yourself a Graffiti / urban artist or a painter?
Is there a difference in your opinion?

HighRaff: When I paint in the street I´m a graffiti writer. When I make a canvas, drawing, sculpture or installation I´m an artist. When I’m creating vectors or working in the photoshop I´m a designer…No labels please…

Art Asylum: What do you think of the current “Street Art” movement in Brazil specifically all the recognition coming out of Sao Paulo?

HighRaff: I think it´s natural. There are a lot of young artists producing creative stuff all around the globe, in the street or not. If the art is good it deserves to be recognized…

Art Asylum: How do you feel about graffiti as a culture, graffiti in the mainstream?

HighRaff: Graffiti was an underground culture, like hip hop, skateboard, tattoo art, comics, etc…All this movements came out to fashion some time after the subversive boom…

To be in the mainstream is quite about fashion. Fashion born and die every day…The good art live forever.

Art Asylum: How has graffiti or art in general effected how you live and think?

HighRaff: It´s simply part of my lifestyle…

Art Asylum: How long have you been painting graffiti?

HighRaff: Since 1997, 12 years now.

Art Asylum: What would you like to communicate as an artist to people when they see your work?

HighRaff: Different possibilities of reality with positive energy.

Art Asylum: I see that you collaborate with a number of artists, do the people you paint with have any impression on your style of artwork?

HighRaff: Of course when you paint with friends each one try to collaborate and integrate the work in a collective way, this can add some new impressions in the work of everybody involved

Art Asylum: How have American styles in graffiti impacted your concepts?

HighRaff: It was like an aesthetic standard for the early years… It has influenced everything you can call as graffiti nowadays…

Art Asylum: As a street artist in Brazil what are some of your greatest challenges or obstacles you face when making your art?

HighRaff: To paint in the streets in Brazil is quite easy compared to most of the places in America or Europe, the biggest challenge now is the buffing… The government is cleaning the city every time and a lot of art vanishes from the walls in few days…

Art Asylum: I see that you also create sculptures that represent the same aesthetic as your paintings what approach is taken to bring your images to life?

HighRaff: First I try to visualize and create an idea of structure, composed by numerous layers fitting together. Then I make some drawings and a little mock up in paper. I make more than one model to reach the structure and form I want for the sculpture, calculating the scale and the fitting system. Then I start to create each piece of the sculpture respecting the structure of the model. After this is the hard working of cutting and scratching (sometimes with help from assistants), then finally painting each piece and putting the whole stuff together.

Art Asylum: When you are not painting, what do you enjoy doing?

HighRaff: Enjoying life, travelling to nature, skateboarding, going out with my girl and my dog or chilling with friends and listen to good music…

Art Asylum: On a more personal note, Do you have any crazy or funny stories about your experiences as an artist?

HighRaff: A lot of funny and crazy stories but I prefer not talk about this…

Art Asylum: What is your life long goal for your artistic career?

HighRaff: Do what I love and enjoy life!

Art Asylum: And what’s new for 2009 what will we see from you this year? Any gallery shows or upcoming projects?

HighRaff: Many things to come stay tuned.

For more information on HighRaff visit:


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