Art Asylum: Introduce yourself to us, what is your name and what does it mean?

Rodrigo Obranco: My name is Rodrigo de Souza Caldas aka Rodrigo Obranco. Obranco means “The White.” I got this name because I live in a predominately black suburb of Sao Paulo city.

Art Asylum: What is your background in art? Was art always a part of your life as you grew up?

Rodrigo Obranco: I am autodidact , at 15 years old I learned to paint in the streets of Sao Paulo with other “grafiteiros” (graffiti artists), but I began to draw at seven years old. My uncle was a painter, sculptor and designer in a small town in Brazil, which had inspired me to dedicate myself to art.



Art Asylum: So you started to draw at a very young age and then moved on to painting, was this self taught or did you receive any formal art education?

Rodrigo Obranco: I attended the School of Visual Arts College here in Brazil and completed my schooling last year.


Art Asylum: Your art blurs the line between graffiti and fine art. How important is it for you to have a foot in both of these worlds? Do you ever see yourself transitioning into a “gallery only” or “street only” environment?

Rodrigo Obranco: My roots are in graffiti but now fine arts walks together with the graffiti. The technique and the theme are the same. The difference is the environment occupied by the artworks (exhibition room or streets). One influences the other and vice versa.


Art Asylum: One of your most recognizable traits is the sail boat where most of your subjects are found wearing one, is there any significance or meaning behind that?

Rodrigo Obranco: I always had lived on the border of a large dam (Guarapiranga, which supplies water to the city of Sao Paulo). The paper boats remind me of my childhood were we use to swim and play games in the water.

Art Asylum: Where do your characters and subjects come from? Do they resemble people in your life?

Rodrigo Obranco: The characters are based on people I see in the city, homeless people on the bus, people that have come and gone, looking tired. These characters resemble the memories of people from my childhood.


Art Asylum:  Who are some other artists that influence your work?

Rodrigo Obranco: Many important Brazilian artists: Portinari, Lasar Segall and Tarsila do Amaral. Also, Lautrec and Kokoschka.

Art Asylum: Have you worked with any of those artists?

Rodrigo Obranco: No, but I had worked with Alexandre Orion, an important Brazilian street artist.

Art Asylum:  What cities have you done work in and where would you like to go next?

Rodrigo Obranco: Only Sao Paulo and surrounding cities. I have plans to go to San Francisco, USA in September. I would also like to visit India.

Art Asylum:  What kind of stuff are you into other than art?

Rodrigo Obranco: I am studying photography and I’m working as a photographer’s assistant.


Art Asylum: Sao Paulo is a very difficult place for artists to emerge from, with the bureaucracy and all, how does it feel to see your art reach a larger audience outside of Brazil specifically here in the states and how would you like your art to be viewed by others?


Rodrigo Obranco: It is very exciting to see people outside of Brazil recognizing and appreciating my work, it is a very intimate part of me so it is an honor for me to share my artwork with the rest of the world.

Art Asylum: Without many galleries and options for expressing art, many Brazilian artists resort to the streets of their city, how does it feel to have a city to use as a canvas and how has outdoor installations affected your work?

Rodrigo Obranco: In Brazil, graffiti, street art (whatever) is a way for the people excluded from the system to communicate with one another. The street artists paint in the street not because they don’t have galleries or museums but because they want to show their artwork to normal people who don’t go to galleries. Now with acceptance of street art by the upper-class, the street artists are now exhibiting in the galleries but they will never leave the streets.

Art Asylum: Has the nature of outdoor painting had any influence on your art and the way you work?

Rodrigo Obranco: The thing that influences my art is not exactly the open spaces of the streets but the people who watch me working and those who respond to my art. These people did not ask me, did not choose to see my work. I paint without permission, I change their environment. Usually they like it, and in some instances they don’t …heheheh.


To purchase Art Asylum Boston’s exclusive fine art print by Rodrigo Obranco click HERE

www.artasylumboston.com

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2 Responses to “Rodrigo Obranco”


  1. October 4, 2009 at 1:44 am

    I enjoy this site, it is worth me coming back


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