After his recent show at the Underdogs Gallery, “Conto Interrompido”, Portuguese artist Mário Belém shared his thoughts with us about his work and life. We will take his advice in life: “Don’t be afraid to take risks, as long as you put your heart into it, it’ll be worth it.”
-What you choose to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?
Im portuguese, I love to have my red wine.
-Introduce yourself to us!
Mário Belém, Im 40 years old, I live and work in Carcavelos a small beach town very close to Lisbon
-How do you defines yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?
Im an illustrator who paints murals and loves to work with wood.
– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?
I freelanced a long time as a comercial illustrator for advertising agencies. It got to a point where I was waking up feeling guilty of being part of a system that imposes things on people that they really don’t need. I decided to start working more and more on personal projects, murals became an important part of this process. Nowadays when I paint a wall I always try to give the work a positive outlook (people already have to spend their day dealing with too much heavy shit as it is).
-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?
Something sweet is the best to get my brain to start working.
-Street art is mostly a visually stimulating form of art. To add one more sense to it, what music would you pick to accompany your art work?
Im very much into melancholic electronic music.
-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What is it that inspires you?
I love the small things that we say to each other without thinking. I have a long list of these things on my phone, I especially like wordplay, the little gems of bad pronunciation and witty comments that slip out during our conversations. I use these as starting points for my visual ideas…
-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?
For me the hardest part is having a good strong idea.
-Do you have an artist(s) you admire and what for?
I have so many… too many actually. Right now my favorite artists are all women: Femmy Otten, Havy Kahraman and Marisol Escobar. They all worked with wood, and they are very inspiring.
-Which cities are the most inspiring for you?
This is biased, as I’m talking about my hometown, but Lisbon is by far the most inspiring city that I know of. It has so many layers, corners and stories…
-What other passions do you have apart from art?
I love the sea. I try to be in the sea as often as I can.
-Tell us about your art, does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?
I’ve been using a lot of type interacting with characters lately, trying to emulate old advertising formats, with some humor in the mix.
– How long time does a piece of art work of yours usually survive for?
Depends, but most of my murals are still healthy.
-What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?
I honestly hope it makes them smile. There’s too much seriousness in the world.
-Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂
It’s not really a secret, but I get asked a lot how long have I been doing graffitti… the first time I picked up a spray can was five or six years ago, I’m not very good with them, but I’ve been in love with this whole process ever since!
-What are your creative plans for the future?
I just want to be able to keep doing whacky projects. I love studio work but I’m also addicted to painting outside, so as long as I keep in having opportunities to work in both areas I’ll be very happy 🙂
-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?
Don’t be afraid to take risks, as long as you put your heart into it, it’ll be worth it.
Thank you Mário! It’s been great to get to know more about the mind and person behind such talented and inspiring works.
‘’I Support Street Art’’ team.