Ramon Rodrigues


edited by Raffaele Loffredo

In your works you use woodcut. Why do you prefer this technique and how has this technique evolved over time?

I have always drawn in black and white, my graphic thinking is based on light and shadow. 

Woodcut works very well for this purpose. Besides drawing, I always liked manual processes and designing what I will do. As a result of this inclination, I did my academic training (undergraduate and master's) in Industrial Design. I loved the classes in the wood and metal workshops. When I started doing printing, it was with lithography (stone plate). I was told that woodcut would not work for my drawing, since the possibility of working with details was not very simple. Soon after that, i moved to Buenos Aires to study art. I couldn't find a lithography studio to work on. Luckily for me, one of the classes I signed up for was with a great Argentine woodcut master, Leonardo Gotleyb. I had already tried to engrave on wood a few times, but I only really tried when I started to study with him. I saw that the technique was not so limited and that if I worked hard, I would be able to do something interesting. He saw that I was really taking that thing seriously and invited me to live in his print studio. It was months turning into nights, trying to make the most of it. When I returned to Brazil, I bought a press and since then, I work only with woodcut. Woodcut has a few steps and that fascinated me. Preparing the material, sketching, engraving, inking, printing ... I can't stand doing the same thing every day and woodcut allowed me that dynamic.

What do you think about the contemporary art scene in Brazil especially in connection with the Europe one and what about the Brazilian sites dedicated to the contemporary languages?

It is hard to make an analysis of contemporary artistic production in Brazil. It is as if there are several countries in Brazil. I know many incredible Brazilian artists who are increasingly disconnected from the old way of making art (pleasing the greatest number of people, not disturbing anyone). With a greater reach, the artist can produce works that previously seemed economically unfeasible, if the work is in any way relevant he will find his audience. I believe that both in Brazil and in the world, the artist's relationship with other participants in the art market has changed a lot in recent years. The relationship with the end consumer is much closer and and the consumer can easily find independent artists through social networks. As a result of this approach, I see a clear increase in the consumption of affordable prices works and by an increasingly younger audience. Today it is very easy to sell to the whole world without the need of an intermediary. The work of intermediaries, both galleries and curators, is much more difficult today. It is not enough to have a roster of local artists and wait for customers to trust this selection. Today a gallery needs to curate much more efficiently and really add a concept to a set of artists and works to justify their work. Brazilian galleries are, in general, very attached to the old thought that they are the only way for the artist to find his audience and survive from his work. This posture, sometimes pedantic, ends up alienating artists and the public. I see some galleries beginning to review this stance, but it is still the rule around here.

Tell me about the reasons that are inspiring the topics of your artworks and what are the new projects you're working at?

When I was a child my father gave me a book to read. It was a compendium of short stories by Edgar Allan Poe. As I trusted his intellectual opinion a lot, it didn't seem scary or strange. It was beautiful. I think that, in some way, shaped my relationship with any artistic expression. The strange was not strange to me, it was natural and even comfortable. I started writing mystery stories and addicted to thriller movies. Generally, my goal is try to tell something that could be horrible, sad and ugly (human) in a beautiful way. The human being is capable of horrible things and we must talk about it. But to start this conversation, the interlocutor must first be seduced, or at least not be repelled.
About the plans for the future, I have several, but I'm not working on any right now. We are quarantined and I have a 1 year old daughter and a 4 year old son. That's what I'm working on now. Spending the days with them, making their food and trying to stay sane.

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