Friday, December 7, 2012

The Cabinet of Dr. Silveira

The paintings of Brazilian artist Rafael Silveira recall a parallel world which defy any reality or reason. They are filled with robots, children with popsicle heads, straight-faced women with strange hair-dos, birds on bikes, toy cars and giant letters which take on anthropomorphic character. Silveira describes his imaginative work as "a mixture of amusement park and circus with cabinet of curiousities". Added to that mix would be his skill with a brush. He paints in a very timeless, classical style—coupled with notes of irony and surrealism. It's this juxtaposition which personally wins me over, as does the addition of his nice lettering.

I asked Silveira about his formal training, as he seemed to have a solid background in fine art, but I was most curious about his lettering skills. He tells me his university training helped him conceptually, but provided no study of technique. He acquired most of his painting skills by practice and reading. Eventually he did complete a degree in advertising and worked as an art director for ten years, which gave him a good foundation and appreciation for typography, however he feels it was all his longtime practice of comic lettering work which originally inspired this passion.
     Asked about his 
strongest personal influences, he calls the work of artist's Basil Wolvertoon, Jaca, R. Crumb, Todd Schorr, Gary Taxali, Chris Ware and Mark Ryden as amongst his favorite influences and wears the scars of many tattoos to remind him of their work. 

These days, Silveira often works with 3D lettering and ornate wooden frames which he designs and paints. While looking for a good cabinetmaker to build furniture for a new home, he found some master woodcarvers of baroque frames and religious artifacts to build some. Not long after, they began carving his wooden frames with many of the 19th century decorative devices, flourishes and typestyles you can see in his sketches below. 

Currently, Silveira has a show of 25 unpublished works hanging at the Choque Cultural gallery in São Paulo, Brazil. This exhibition runs until December 22nd. Not even being in the same hemisphere as my own, this does truly seem like an alternate parallel universe. Until it comes to a town near you, Silveira's work can also be enjoyed here

The Cabinet of Dr. Silveira

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