“After denouncing and stigmatizing graffiti and drawings as vandalism, after oppressing the youth cultures that produced them, after clearing out the places that were workshops for those artists, now the strong powers of the city want to become the saviors of street art.”
This is what Wu Ming said, Italian collective writers, formed in Bologna, Italy!
Today we talk with a fascinating contemporary artist, Tiago Evangelista stage name EX.AMANTE.
Is this your stage name and why?
I always loved the duality of the word “amante” in Portuguese or any latin language, and Ex amante sounded just right.
Several artists from the 80s brought the world of the street in the canvas.
Your research is about contemporary painting.
Do you consider yourself a street painter?
Definitely yes. There are no better canvas than the streets. Endless possibilities and infinite places.
The aesthetics of your works retain originality and freshness.
Simple color backgrounds, an evident conceptual attitude!
A broad range of art forms are featured now: Digital art, computer graphics, computer animation, virtual art, Internet art, interactive art, sound art, computer robotics, 3D printing, cyber-art! Is painting still a powerful media to spreading messages?
The impact of a big painting is always stronger to me, we handle so much technology that most we need is to take the time to appreciate something physical.
I also work with other medias but painting has always been my favorite.
Your paintings seem to belong to a new aesthetic! Digital illustrations, computer graphic, some 90’s videogame! What do you think?
That was the era that influenced me the most, especially esthetic wise. I’m also very influenced by the late 60s and the early 70s. All the social movements that emerged at that time, but those influenced me in a more deep and political manner.
Do you have a studio where you work?
I’m working at home right now, hopefully I can get a nice studio soon. In need it!
“Volvo V40 Crash Test" is part of “Auto Erotica", a personal exhibition. Can you tell me something more about it?
I explored my relationship with the visuals of the industrial and automobile landscapes with this work and this exhibition.
Basically it was a big part of my childhood, because my father is a mechanic and all the aesthetical part of the garage, the crashed cars and auto parts were basically all I drew since I was a kid.
"Favorite car ever?" Aerosol on canvas, is one of your latest works. Even here I can see a car shape and a headlight and I found the same yellow and black line of “Radikal Islam”.
What is behind this work?
Again, it’s basically the same relationship with all the automobile and post industrial environments I always loved.
You are the curator of Emcontemporanea (instagram page) ! There are works by David Von Bahr, Ricardo Passaporte, Jana Schröder, Rudolf Stingel and many others. What is it?
EmContemporanea was created initially because I needed a platform where I would put all the works and the artists I admired, I’m very bad to remembering names and I created a notebook for myself, but later I loved all the aesthetic part of that page and I started to put even more works from artists I admire.
Let’s go back to the Tiago man, to the Tiago child. What are your origins and where do you currently live?
I was born in a small town in Portugal.
I graduated in fine arts and I’m currently living in Portugal.
I also lived in Berlin and in London after degree but I always missed the Portuguese sun in there.
How much does it influence you to live in Portugal and your art?
I love it here, the vibe is very relaxed, I can just get in my car and go outside to the countryside and paint there. Also I’m always 30min driving from the beach.
I get more inspired in the countryside but the Lisbon vibe is not very different even if it’s a big city.
A famous song comes to my mind, “We are we now?” by David Bowie. Interesting title: where are we now and where are we going? How do you imagine the future?
If you asked me this same question a few months ago the answer would have been very differen haha.
I think we’re living in the beginning of a new era, everything has to get worse before it gets better.
I imagine a future more green and yet more tense.
One of my art professor said to me: “If the world were going to be destroyed and there is a spaceship to save only 3 works of art and take them to another planet, which would you save? Of all art history! Which works of art would you save?”
That’s a hard one.
I would save mostly works from contemporary artists.
Probably something from Matias Faldbakken, a Rothko and a Basquiat.
They probably will be worthless in space, but I couldn’t resist to save some pieces from them.
Thank you for your time! I continue to watch your works, I imagine the sunny streets of Portugal, pieces of machines painted on the walls, the video games that we have always loved.I hope to meet you soon, I want to see your work up close!
by Niccolò Tabanelli