Luis Bueno is a street artist and a teacher, graduated in Graphics Design and with a Master Degree in Visual Arts. After working with illustration and publishing design, he started to try new supports to express himself and started to do graffiti on the streets of São Paulo, about ten years ago. After passing through different techniques, he adopted the pasting as his main artistic language, mixing digital and manual techniques. In 2010 he created his most famous series, Pelé the kisser, which he pasted in different places around the world.
Hey Luis, today you will talk with MoW about six of your artworks that were inspired by music. Can you start by telling MoW why you chose to create artworks inspired by music?
My work is inspired by social and cultural signs. I work with themes that come from art, movies, sports, politics etc. Music is also a great font of themes for me. And the musicians that I choose to picture in my works spread their influence beyond the musical sphere, becoming references of behavior and political view.
Would you say there is a specific music that inspired your artworks?
Usually I don't work with a specific song in mind. What matters for me is what the artist represents, in cultural terms. But in some cases, when I work with Gráfica Fidalga typographic background, we use to produce posters that are pasted on the first layer, with a phrase from a song of the artist pictured with Pelé. It is hard to select the phrase, so I try to select songs that can be open enough to catch the spirit of the artist. For example, for the Bob Dylan piece, who is an author of so many great songs, I picked "The Times They Are A-Changin" because besides the fact that it is one of his most famous songs, it tells a lot about the moment we are living now (even though great part of the recent changes in the world goes to a conservative direction, the fresh and the new, represented by so many social movements and people around the world are also gaining forces, and will bring a new wave of changes - I hope so).
Can you tell MoW the story behind each artwork?
Nina Exodus - I started this series that I called Exodus in 2015. The idea was to picture animals and humans in space suits, flying to somewhere else. This image is very representative to me, because it can tell, besides other interpretations, about the universe of possibilities that we all can explore. The first piece of this series was a cat (my cat in fact). And I was planning to resume the series with a human at the end of last year, it would be my last pasting in 2016. I wanted someone who was revolutionary and kind of out of this world and my girlfriend suggested me to pick a woman, which I found a beautiful idea. So I picked Nina Simone, one of my favorite singers.
Pelé Bob Dylan - Bob Dylan was the last Pelé encounter I created. Dylan was in my list for a long time, and when he won the Literature Nobel Prize I thought it was the time to do it. It is still up and running today.
Pelé Bob Marley - The first musician that I have pictured in Pelé series was Bob Marley. I always liked Marley, his ideas of peace and love transmitted through his songs. And later I found he was a great fan of football, he was a Santos FC fan - Santos is the club where Pelé played in Brazil. This specific picture shows a paste that I did at Lapa, in Rio, a very musical district, where you find a lot of bars and music houses.
Pelé Amy - The Amy Winehouse piece was created to remember the anniversary of 5 years of her death. Most of the artists I represent were famous before I was born, but Amy was 3 years younger than me, so I could watch her become a star and her sad last years. She was one of the greatest singers I saw.
Pelé Bowie - I was passing my vacations in Chile when Bowie died. I woke up that morning, opened my Instagram and started to see a lot of Bowie images. A very sad feeling came to me that moment because I realized, before reading anything, what happened. Bowie was one of my favorite musicians - for me he is one of the most important artists of the last three decades of the 20th century. That day I decided that, when I came back to Brazil, I would produce different versions of Bowie to match with Pelé, because he was so plural that one version would not be enough.
Pelé Sabotage - This piece was created after an invitation by my friend Petrus, owner of Gráfica Fidalga, to create a new art to decorate one of the walls in his new studio, at Butantã district in São Paulo. He asked me to picture Pelé with Sabotage, which I found an amazing idea. Sabotage was a very important rapper in Brazil, and was killed at the age of 30, such a talent that we lost in a very tragic way.
What is your favorite piece between the ones presented today ?
I like all these pieces, I think that they all have a great meaning. But I would say that the Bowie pieces were very significant to me because I was always a fan of his work and I was very emotive because of his passing. Besides, it was a work where I strengthened my partnership with Gráfica Fidalga, after that work we did a lot of pieces together.
Do you have plans on creating new artworks inspired by music/musicians ?
Sure. There are many musicians that I would like to match in the Pelé series. And besides that, I would love to picture other musicians in the exodus series too. These are the most concrete plans, but I have lots of ideas featuring musicians and music in my head, I just have to develop them more before I bring them to the streets.
Can you tell Mow more about your techniques and how long does it takes you to make an artwork?
I work with digital and manual techniques. My work usually starts at the computer, where I select images to work with that I further edit and reconstruct. Then I scale the art to the proportion I want and print it in separate parts. After that I can paint over them, with acrylic paint, which is a technique I use in most of my colored pieces. Finally I go to the streets and paste them. Sometimes I use to paint after the pasting, but it is not so common, because I prefer to paint calmly in my house, listening to music.
Why is music important to you, in your life and in your art?
I grew up in a family where everybody used to listen to music, especially during the weekends. My grandfather was a musician; he played the clarinet in a small band in my hometown. So I have this background, which links me to music in a very affective way. I remember that I was very joyful when my brother gave me my first compact cassette, a Beatles selection of songs, when I was ten. And I listened to a lot of music during my teenage. During this time I realized the importance of music culturally speaking, that it was not only entertainment, but also it could influence people in so many ways.
What kind of music do you listen to when you're working?
Usually when I am creating I prefer the silence. But when I am preparing my pastes (cutting and separating the prints into small parts) or when I am painting over them, I use to listen to music. It can be rock and roll, jazz, Latin and Brazilian music or even classical, it depends on the mood I am.
What is the song you liked the most lately?
It is been some years since I don't search for new things in music. What does not mean that I don't listen to new music, I am glad when someone shows me something new, but I don't go for them as the way I used to do when I was younger. Lately I prefer to rediscover old albums. For example, now I am listening to Jimi Hendrix discography, it is wonderful to listen with new ears to songs I discovered when I was a teenager.
My favorite song at the moment can be "Highway Chile" by Jimi Hendrix. Another song I am listening and playing too much these days is "Nine Out of Ten", by Caetano Veloso ;)
What was the last gig you went to ?
It is been the same with gigs. I used to go to a lot of gigs when I was younger, now I go only to some rare gigs. The last one I went I think it was two years ago, Queens of Stone Age here in São Paulo, amazing gig.
Are you a musician?
Unfortunately I am not a musician. I play a little guitar and I can sing a little bit, but just for my personal enjoyment. My audience is basically my cat, who is a good listener, he is always near when I am playing.
THANK YOU SO MUCH LUIS BUENOS
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