Los grafites de Muretz
If you walk around the streets of Sao Paulo, chances are you’ll see graffiti by artist Mauro Golin, aka Muretz. The Brazilian with a childlike, yet ingenious, style cheers up the walls of the city with his unique creations. It’s with immense pleasure that we introduce this imaginative artist to you, in the land of football and samba.
Hi Muretz! To begin, we’d like to know more about you. Can you tell us about your journey, and the moment you decided to throw yourself into the art world?
One of the earliest things I can remember doing as a child is scribbling: books, tables, walls, everything at home was a target for my inspiration. At school, teachers and other kids started paying attention to my drawings and encouraging me. From that early on I developed a taste for art and it became one of my favourite hobbies and easiest ways to express myself. That’s how I got trapped into this art world, and could never find a way out!
Your illustrations feature bold and simple lines, and remind us of quite a childlike world, like old school black and white cartoons. How would you define your style?
Yes, I believe it’s all linked to childhood fun. I never really had the aspiration of becoming a fine artist, and for me, my drawings have always been more of a way of expression. Scribbling silly things on napkins, schoolbooks, up on the walls etc, and getting a fun reaction from people, making them smile, has always been my fuel. That’s why I try to keep my art style as simple as possible (also because I am a bit lazy). I want the message in the illustration to not be overwhelmed by its visual complexity or beauty. Too much attention to the form and you will miss the content, and vice-versa. Every artist has its own balance.
Your drawings aren’t really addressed to children, though. What messages and emotions do you want to get across?
I am into exoteric things like ancient pagan religions, meditation, dreams, trippy insights into other dimensions, etc. I try to glance at that with fun and playful approach.
You do a lot of street art. What do the walls of Sao Paulo represent to you?
I really wish there wasn’t so much concrete in this city… But it’s grown so fast and chaotically that we ended up having walls built everywhere. That’s because we Brazilians learned how to make concrete and pile up bricks before learning proper architecture and urban planning. With so many buildings and walls around, graffiti turned out to be a huge culture here! Street art definitely helps to take away the coldness and greyness of the concrete a bit, and for me it is a great way of putting positive messages out there for the people. Also, doing graffiti can be quite expensive: the time, the paint, the materials, the sweat – but if a piece of art I put out there makes people smile, I’ve earned pay back.
How do you choose the places where you do your graffiti?
For me, it’s all about the message so I really try to find spots that stand out and are not surrounded by other graffiti. I also tend to choose walls that are within my neighbourhood and my routine, maybe because I love seeing my pieces as much as possible. It brings back the memories from when I did them and that always puts a smile on my face! I also try to chose spots that are on somewhat busy streets, where I know many people will see my art – yes, I am vain! Sometimes it’s on a public wall, and so I have to sneak there late at night and be quick and cautious. But most spots I pick are private street walls where the owner gave me the permission to paint. Then, I can do it during the day and take my time to produce something more elaborate. I also have to mention many of the walls I paint are private, but that I never got permission to paint. I like painting them during the day because I know people will never consider the possibility that I didn’t get permission to paint them, so no one ever bothers me!
What graffiti has been the hardest to create until now?
The hardest ones are the ones that are commissioned. Sometimes I have to do commissioned work because, you know, it pays! But the true beauty and essence of graffiti is not about being paid to do it. It’s quite the opposite! Paid work always brings that feeling of having a shadowy observer looking over your shoulder, checking out your work progress. It takes all the fun away! I have done pieces in the middle of the day with thousands of people walking by and interrupting me, but with no money involved, so I was relaxed, having fun, working smoothly and easily. Having said that, of course it also feels great to have people paying for you to paint, it’s a form of recognition for your work! But as an artist you just have to keep the focus on the fun and purpose of your art, not on the monetary compensation. Money, recognition and fame are great servants, but terrible masters!
It’s infinite. It’s mysterious. It’s within ourselves. I am fascinated by the supernatural, the exoteric, science and religion, meditation, spirituality, and I often try to represent some of that in my art. Mostly I like to depict space as a representation of transcending the material world, a glance at the unknown and infinite space.
Your characters often have deformed and disproportionate limbs. Why do you play like that with the anatomy of the human body?
Disproportionate? Really? Oh well, I guess I need to practice more of anatomy drawings then. No, not really! Because I think life is already accurate enough, why not deform it on art? It’s fun playing with it, making mistakes, seeing what happens when you go to absurd measurements. Changing the body also changes the body language of the character! So playing with these things can definitely accentuate and enhance the message you are sending.
We really like your graphics of the two sardines on our PLUMARD t-shirt from our 2016 Spring-Summer collection. What’s the story behind that drawing?
Well, it was an idea I had for a graffiti piece to be done on those roll up commercial steel doors. I wanted to make a joke about those doors, and I figured out the best way to do that was to make it look like a can, with a couple of sardines laying comfortably in it as if they were sleeping in a cosy bed – even though sardines in a can are not in a cosy situation at all! But I think that’s why that idea gets a fun reaction. It’s cute dark humour.
Can you tell us about one or two Brazilian artists whose work you particularly enjoy?
I grew up seeing the graffiti works of Gemeos and Alex Hornest (Onesto) everywhere in São Paulo so they’re deeply impressed in my mind. I enjoy Mudo, who has a very raw street style and a nice sense of humour, too. Deco Treco is another artist who strikes me with a powerful, very exquisite style! And I am a fan of Speto’s work because it beautifully reminds me of the popular Northeastern Brazilian art, which I love. All of these artists communicate a lot within their work, they have found a good balance between form and content, and I admire that.
What are your future projects? Will we be able to see your graffiti elsewhere than on the walls of Sao Paulo?
I am currently painting a nice wall at the «Beco do Batman», which is a famous graffiti street in São Paulo, and I have some fresh ideas waiting for the perfect wall. Some of these walls are definitely overseas. I am shouting out to people in London and Miami and trying to find a good wall for one of my 3D graffiti pieces. It will be an evolution from the original 3D idea and I can’t tell much about it yet, but it involves a technique that nobody has ever done so far. The result will be quite exquisite. I am also putting work together for a solo exhibition at Moosey Art in Norwich UK in 2016. Stay tuned!
Many thanks to Muretz for his answers.