“La Vie de Marie” is a character created by you and born with a disruptive personality in the face of social norms and established stereotypes. How did this character start to express through the fine arts and how fluid was this process?
I think since we were children we have a lot of people inside us, and the fact that we cling on to the idea that we can only have one identity doesn't make us evolve as people. I think it's cool to accept that we're changing, and constantly changing, and that's why I so enjoy meeting different people and changing environments. It's always an opportunity to renew the person you are. I think that through Art, through my creations, I feel free in that aspect. Because I can create whatever I want, depending on what I'm feeling, without being tied to anything that I was or will be. I can create without limits.
We know that the issue of “normalization” of all people is very relevant to you. How do you see this process taking place in Portugal and how do you think this “normalization” is linked with the issue of representativeness, with diversity and with inclusion?
I think it's important that we normalize what's different. Because in reality, in my head, it never made sense to look at certain people and categorize them as “different”. I grew up in a very closed environment, so I never realized what was different about me to be defined as such. We are all the same, with different perspectives of course, but I feel like we are all individually similar and different at the same time. That's what makes us special. I think it makes no sense to use these people when you want to show “we are different”. Change is in realising that they always exist, and normalising this. It's not even something you should think about, or a distinction that should be made, it should really be a natural thing. But I'm glad that this is now being reflected on, because I think it's really important that we all feel included and feel good about ourselves in order to be good in society.
In the process of your creations and all your work, where does your creativity come from and what inspires you?
As a matter of fact, when it comes to inspiration, I feel that the beautiful part of being an artist and the idea of “creating” is the fact that it's not mandatory to have inspiration. Because I feel that when I create, it's the complete opposite that sets me free: it's very reassuring to realize that I didn't need inspiration after all. I simply needed to have a blank sheet! I think art is very much the act of expressing in other ways what we cannot say in words. Of course, we will inevitably look to other people for inspiration, it's good on an intellectual level. But on an artistic level, I feel that I won't be faithful to what I feel if I base myself on the inspiration I get from others. So I feel like it's a bit of that blank paper, and if you're really an artist, something will be born inside of you, however long it takes. I think it's a really free-flowing thing: I never think when I'm drawing!
How would you define the art of modern Portuguese culture?
I think that our society, Portugal, is still very outdated in terms of Art and there are many artists who are not valued and don't have the necessary support. I feel this with older generations, and I feel really misunderstood. For example, my grandparents were unable to appreciate my work, instead they were able to use it to fill a hole in the barn. I think that, to counteract this reality, it is important that we give voice to new artists. We don't have to adapt to their reality, from these previous generations, they have to adapt to ours and that's how we're going to evolve and see that there is diversity. There is space for everyone, the traditional side, the Portuguese thing! I am not saying that our style of art, this modern Portuguese culture, and our works are no longer Portuguese. But today, Art is something more personal, it is not so nationalistic. Anyway, I feel like we're giving this more voice, and I feel like we're evolving.
What do you see as the role of brands, such as Overcube, in the voice that modern Portuguese culture should have when it comes to art, innovation, disruption, inclusion and so many other areas essential to development?
I happen to think it's very important for brands to include more people, more artists, and more diversity in communication. Because if we were to see the world without Art, it would be very empty! Most people work to have money to consume things that fuel their happiness. These things often exist through Art: theater, cinema, music, exhibitions. All of this completes us a lot as people, and I think that that is very important. Unfortunately, we end up being a very consumerist society, and it's great to have more inclusion through brand communication because, for example, I feel that during my growth it was very difficult to accept myself and my family to accept me. This is because there were never people like me on television, like me… even this is strange to say because we are normal people. We are all special in our own way, I get to have a conversation with someone who is the complete opposite of me. But I think my grandparents would have understood me much better if they had seen someone more like me on television. Because they could look at my sister and my cousins and say “Oh, you look like the one from the soap”. I didn't look like anyone from the soap opera. I don't know… But I think this issue of diversity and inclusion in brands is really important, because audiovisual culture is something that influences us a lot! As people start to see... Our brain will start to normalize certain things without realizing that they are normal by themselves.