The Rio Series is inspired by the graffiti I recently saw in Rio de Janeiro. Many of the hilly streets are “tagged” with the most beautiful compositions. Bold and organic shapes are often painted in luscious pinks, teals and greens. One in particular stands out.
The artist had painted various sized rectangles in pinks, blues and yellows. On top of these delicate colors were painted thick black lines running from top to bottom, side to side, bottom to side and top to side. There was so much line work that the beauty underneath became hidden. Escondido.
A beleza. Why did the artist choose to hide the beauty? The lines were strong yet delicate. “I am here.” Lines divide. Your side. Ao meu lado? Over here. There. Multiple borders? Onde esta voce? Estou aqui…..
From where I stood on the hillside I could see all of Rio. The city was clearly divided. The forest stretched above me. The cascading favela boxes tumbled down the hillside and kissed the edge of the suburbs. The suburbs pushed against the downtown and the sea tucked it all in. Each area breathed heavily on the other. Space diminished in the vastness. I had yet another impression of Rio.
As I painted Big Boy Rio I tried to embody what it meant to cover up our self- expression. Delicately. In Portuguese there is a word jeito. There is a jeito, a way, to get around every obstacle. Every problem has a solution. I chose a non-black to divide. I wanted to keep the color, celebrate the color, make good on the boundaries.
Big Boy Rio is the largest painting in the Rio Series.