Artist Process

O Curupira by Jonathas Nazareth

O Curupira, 2014. Carved wood block (in my bathtub) I made a limited edition of prints, later turned this into a painting. I learned about the Curupira as a kid in school. The Curupira is a mythological creature responsible for all living beings and the forests of Brazil. He is usually depicted a little boy spirit with fiery red hair and inverted feet. This is my own rendition. I became interested in the Curupira after returning to Araruama nearly 20 years after I had left and saw the state of destruction the area had experienced due to an oil boom and increased real estate development. 

Since then, I have made many versions of the Curupira including the two below. On a very personal and mystical level, I made curupiras as a way to ask the spirits to protect these areas that are so dear to me. It also became a way to bring back the folkloric figures and raise awareness about the ongoing deforestation of Brazil. 

The Pieta, 2016 by Jonathas Nazareth

I was in Kathmandu, Nepal earlier this year and I found these really interesting tin figurines in the Thamel Market. From what I was able to understand, people buy them to put at the temples to ask for blessings or better health for the sick. They also are used to ask the gods to help the recently deceased find their way. I was especially drawn to them because they reminded me of how I normally draw figures. 

I bought maybe 20-30 of these. 

I bought maybe 20-30 of these. 

I was so inspired by them that I wanted to make a very short animation while I was there. I used only my phone and Instagram to make it. You can view it here @_hey_jo

When I came back home, I lost the little tin guys and recently came upon them while cleaning my studio. I wanted to make something quick again. I find that if we try to plan too much, especially when it comes to video, things never get done. So, almost as if I were working in my sketchbook, I made an animation sketch. I cut out a lot of images from newspapers and magazines to use in my paintings, this one reminded me so much of Michelangelo's Pieta and I wanted to use it. I was in a small art fair in Brooklyn last month and I found the necklace of daisies. I explained to the artist who made it, that daisies were a major element in my work. I bought the choker necklace and I kept it around my picture frames in my living room, always waiting for the excuse to use it. 

Below is a little watercolor drawing I made based on the image. I often do little studies like these before the photographs I collect become patterns or paintings.  

Page from my sketchbook

Page from my sketchbook

Post Cards from Creation by Jonathas Nazareth

I became fascinated with Post cards back in 2011. I figured it was a way to capture a memory for myself as a collector, and to share a memory with a friend almost by inserting them into that moment. Much like a photograph captures the moment we experience. I began collecting postcards and I sent them to so many people. It was like I could take a very expensive or valuable piece of work and send it for less than a dollar. 

Postcards I purchased on my travels. Rodin Museum Paris, Caravaggio in a church in Rome, and a beautifully ornate postcard from Florence. 

One person who has always responded and done the same with me was my bestieLucas Lai. I secretly began to collect postcards to send to him. We have been exchanging post cards since 2012. Lucas divides his time between Brooklyn and Shelter Island. I live in harlem. We send each other cards from abroad, but mostly from one neighborhood to the other. Once I think I sent him all the contents of my inspiration board over my desk by simply attaching a stamp to a photo or magazine cut out.  Below is a postcard he sent me once on his way to Berlin in 2013. He describes how he loves the city so much. Little did he know 3 years later his dream would come true. I guess I have to buy more postage. 

Post card from Lucas in 2013, sadly, almost 3 years later to the day he told me he was moving to Berlin. 

I began making my own postcards also as a way of collecting a moment when in my studio for myself, and also inserting a friend or viewer into my process of creation. I call these Post Cards from Creation.

4x6 Post Cards, mixed media on paper. I make while I am working. I often send these out to people, or sell them for $5 ( An expensive post card, I know!)