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Gonçalo Ribeiro “MAR” interview

The Portuguese artist, surfer and family man Gonçalo “Mar” Ribeiro provided his busy time for a quick chat with us. Originally from Lisbon, he started painting towards the end of the 90`s in his hometown and nowadays is one of the well known artists in the street art scene of Portugal.
-What you choose to drink? Coffee, Tea, Beer, Soda or something else?

( MAR) – I have to choose coffee because I`m a coffee addict 🙂

-Introduce yourself to us!

Hey, my name is Gonçalo MAR, I`m a muralist or a street artist from Portugal, i started in 97/98 doing letters, very attached to the graffiti movement, and after some interventions I realize that i wanted to work more in the message that we could leave in the streets, because its a big opportunity and responsibility if we don’t to ignore the energy that we can send to the people out there, so i start to work on some characters and subverted messages that could reach to more people.

And thats what I`m doing in this present time and still enjoying the process.


– Where does your tag name come from?

So, my tag”MAR” means Sea in Portuguese, and Surf is one of my passions and the sea himself, is where i get a lot of energy and inspiration and at the time it felt so perfect and was only three letters and was easy and fast.

-How do you define yourself? Artist? Street artist? Anything else?

I define myself as I said it before as a Muralist, a contemporary muralist, because the core of my work is in walls or murals, it´s where my innersole get lost and where I feel complete and also as an artist because I believe that anyone that see the worlds a creative place should be entitle as an artist.


– How did it all start for you, and what is it nowadays?

It´s a little bit different nowadays, when i started in Portugal, we where few and it was strictly Graffiti. I was working in a animation studio in Lisbon, back in 98, and there was a guy, in the studio that already painted (Roket) and put the sparkle on me to go out and paint. I started doing some letters with him and was amazing but soon i realize that i wanted more than just the name, realize that the streets were ands still are a beautiful playground that allow us to be creative, activist and to send messages to the world. That is the big difference that i feel nowadays.

In my perspective i think that the movement evolve from the graffiti bases where the trains where the only vehicle that went around all city, to the internet era that give us permission to be more transcendental, with letters or characters or installations.
And than the term “Streetart where born,that´s muy quick notion of the growing of this new artistic movement of the XXI.sec.
Some are more or less fundamentalist but the bottom line is to take over or reclaim the street and be whatever you want to be.


-What is the first thing you do when you get up in the morning?

Well, the first thing is really a big coup of coffee and than check the mails and social media to be or try to be on top of things and enjoy my kids before school.

-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?

I enjoy a lot listening to music will im working and at the moment im listening to a lot of stuff such as , DJShadow, mashup´s and a lot of Portuguese music: Orellha Negra,Capitão Fausto, etc.


-In all forms of art, inspiration is crucial. What is it that inspires you?

Besides the Sea ,at this moment i can tell you that the colors of Nature is one of my biggest inspiration at this state of my work.

-What is the hardest part while working on a piece of art?

The hardest part for me, while working in a piece of art is definitely the fill in, for sure! i get crazy sometimes.


-Do you have an artist(s) you admire and what for?

I think that all the artists that can put together a good concept ,with visuals or words, that get my attention, wether if is from the process or the history I have to admire.

-Which cities are the most inspiring for you?

All the places that i have been to have there own charm, for example i love the light in Lisbon, the streets of NY or the buildings in London, i think that everything is inspiring when we travel.


-What other passions do you have apart from art?

My other passions apart from art its surfing, but not having so much time as I prefere Family, collecting Comics and Graphic novels from all around the world.

-Do you have a wild project that you dream of achieving some day?

I´m real in the middle the wild project ever that´s trying to live from my art, apart of that i real what to paint in the craziest places ever and do more public installations


-Tell us about your art, does it include symbolisms, messages or repeated patterns?

My body of work its based on creating characters and environments that are kind of surrealistic twists of some singular phenomens of common sense. And now im trying to create shapes from elements of nature that translate statements or thoughts. I use a lot of contrast in colors and the most important for me is that people could have feelings just looking at some of my work.

Now im investing some time on public installations , try to see how it will work. Put together some of my work in 3D

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– How long time does a piece of art work of yours usually survive for?

It depends on the location really, I still have some work out that have 10 years or if we go to some places that are very active it could stay for 4/5 years, but normally my pieces last a long time

-What do people first think of, or feel, when they see one of your works on the street?

I really don’t know, but i want people to dream, i what people to go out of there normal life and enter to the story, i want people to imagine themselves in the painting and on to way inspiring people.

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-Do you have a secret you would like to share with us? 🙂

The biggest and wildest one, I have a twin brother:) he doesn’t paint ,but we started together drawing when we where younger, the characters from the marvel universe, but he prefer to start working very early. If we stay together we could be the twins from Portugal:) Who knows?!

-What are your creative plans for the future?

I´m always doing stuff, creating and everything, but beside the street projects and to try to do more installations, I´m working on some kind of comic/graphic/novel book and see what could come from there, with time no worries.


-Is there a specific thought or message you would like to pass to our audience out there?

I can give you thoughts of a dreamer for free:), don’t be afraid of doing what you really want, step out of the safe place and than come back, thats the reason we called safe, go out to adventure and when you return your safe place gets bigger.
I think that its the secret, and never felt that its impossible until you try. Good luck!

Check more work of Mar:

Thank you Gonçalo! 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.


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