© Rita Draper Frazão

Inner Tour is a blog about People, Arts and Traveling by Rita Draper Frazão.
If you want to use my work, presented here, please send me a message.

sábado, 17 de março de 2018

My next Portrait, You!

New Self Portrait © Rita Draper Frazão

Hi everybody! A lot has been going on: new projects, new persons in my life, new me! Hence, I also felt the need to make a new self portrait.

I have so many persons asking me about my portraits.
So, I decided to do an article as a private tour of my drawings, my story and relation with portraits and new ideas I'm having.  

If you want to be my next portrait, keep reading. This is for you!

My Roots in drawing

For you to know the point I'm at now, I feel like, I need to share with you a bit of my personal story.

I love persons! That's why the tagline of this blog is, Ideas with people.

It was from early age, that I've developed curiosity about the other, the gusto of listening their stories, see the essence of the person, and try to convey that, in my artistic work.

I don't remember when I made my first portrait. But I know, that when I was about six years old, I've portrayed my Mum "officially", because she still has that drawing. I could barely write, but in that portrait, I drew her hairstyle, her glasses, her multiple color striped shirt with detail, her sandals, and even the sofa pattern where she was sat. According to my parents, I'd spend hours drawing, it was my favorite play. I think it still is!

Overtime, and regarding arts, I had several important teachers. Here, I will speak just about the ones, that, somehow, are related to my portrait practice.

Sweet Child of mine

Within drawing, portraits have a special place in my heart.
I grew up with it. I come from a family of artists, and my grandmother, Ildema who was a painter, did a lot of portraits too. She was my first real art teacher, during my childhood. And one I will never forget! It was with her I've learned all the drawing basics, for sure!
She was, also, the one that has taught me the importance of drawing daily, and to have a sketch book, always close, even beside my bedside table.
As a child, I was a model for some of her portraits, and later on, she was my model too (see here and here).
One of her wise advices was that hands and feet were the hardest to draw.
I wanted so bad to learn how to do it, that it led me to draw many. Ever since, I became an enthusiast of that theme. And it's kind of crazy to think how it's still, so very present in my work now!  Some examples of that are Helena Espvall's hands portrait, or Miguel Mira's foot.

Back then, and for a long while, my uncle - that is also an artist - had his studio at my grandparents' place, where I'd spend afternoons after afternoons watching them (him and my Grandmother) paint.
I admired his obsession with painting, his surrealistic imaginary and his technique. I think kids are like sponges, and they can learn so much just through observing. 

My Father's inspiration, artsy stuff at hand, in our place, and in his architect studio, were very important too. And I don't mean just paper and inks, but musical instruments along with other things as well. In fact, this self portrait you see above, was made with colored pencils, that once belong to him. His influence was absolutely crucial in my life choices. And a lot more would have to be said regarding that.

My grandmother, Néné, and my Mother, were another major influence on my way, and in my deep love for Art's History that, later on, would reveal to be fundamental for my portrait practice.
My mother's graduated in History, and my grandmother was a living Art, Literature, Poetry, Travel, Languages and History encyclopedia.

Mum's always handed me a lot of history books. But two of them were special. One was about Ancient Egypt in particular, and the other one was about Everyday life in Ancient Art. Both were packed with illustrations, and photos that kept me dreaming. Eventually, those two became my favorite childhood stories. One can see a direct reference to this in my Hamid Drake's Egyptian God inspired portrait.

Also, I grew up with family and friends from several countries always around. I think, growing up in such a multicultural environment, has helped me a lot with being curious towards what was foreign or unknown. And portrait also became a way to overcome that. All this was very important for me and, and also the literary inspiration I got from here. Another theme, for another story!

Smells Like Teen Spirit 

For four years, Dina Gimenez and Patrícia Fonseca were my teachers during high school, and both have been absolutely instrumental. 

It was with my teacher, Dina Gimenez, that I've found my favorite ancient portraits, such as Romans' psychological portraits, and Minoan portraits, just to name a few.
I had such strong Art's History basis with her, that I never really had to study it hard, when I was in college.
She also helped to plant the photography seed, raised the team working spirit, and made us try different painting materials.

Dina was one of the teachers that led and supervised our work, for the biggest school party at the end of the year (called the Smashing Awards), so that an artistic work of excellence could be done.
We were involved in the whole visual concept of it, working for months, in costumes, prizes, props and theatre settings. I have so many good memories of this art laboratory-factory classes! With us all happy working, like ants, and knowing that, in tiny pieces, we were all laboring for the big picture, for the common good. A remarkable experience for the rest of my life!

One can see a bit of the traces Dina left in me, through some works that relate particularly to experimenting, Art's History and Photography.
 Some examples are in the content of my exhibition in Zaratan, in my illustration from a text of Bataille, inspired by the Katsushika Hokusai's wave, in the photos I took for my article about Coimbra, or in my group work with And Lab.

In this other Art Subject we had, there was some sort of suspense in the beginning of the year, since we were with a substitute teacher and didn't quite knew what was going on with our real teacher.

That happened because Patrícia Fonseca lived in Macao (China) for several years, and I suppose that due to it, she had some extra time off.
I was so happy to meet her afterwards and I had no idea how this person and would later be a key figure to me. It was definitely worth the wait!

When her classes finally kicked off, she blew my mind with her instigating drawing exercises. It was a boost in my visual synthesis capability. She also instilled in me the possibility of the graphic narrative, which is not surprising, since she's a brilliant comics author! For years, she's worked for the Macanese press. And boy, was I fascinated by the Universe she brought from her China years! Won't forget the day I saw her book Um caso de Ópio (A case of Opium with Carlos Morais José), during one of our art classes, twenty years ago. It was an eye opener!

She was also the first one to commission me, works of illustration and writing about music for the School Journal. My first press collaboration! Funnily enough, back then, I wrote an article about the Smoke City band, with whom I would work many years later. Who would've guessed that?

Besides that, I loved her living in the clouds, kind of almost permanent, state! She has inspired me in a way, very few did. An example of that, is my Stars Driller drawing, made in my graphic diary, in one of her classes.

And speaking of sketchbooks... I feel like she genuinely believed in my potential, and it was also her interest in my graphic diaries that kept me doing them until today! In fact, that graphic-chronicle-narrative axis, is still one of the basis of my work, today. Having this blog, with all its visual and written content is a great example of that.

Everything in its right place

My experience of entering the Fine Arts Faculty in Lisbon, was kind of surreal. I remember in the first days of college, it strangely felt like home. There was this weird, unexplainable, and really strong feeling of belonging to this place, where I had never entered before as a student.
My grandmother Ildema, my uncle and my Dad all studied there too, and who knows if there was some sort of relation to this fact. Anyways, I simply felt I was in my element.

There, I was extremely lucky to have Américo Marcelino, as my drawing teacher. He is simply a true master in motivating students and conveying drawing techniques in a graceful way.

Funny, that his Phd thesis theme is the relation between optical devices and drawing, because one of the major things I feel I've learnt from him, is how to look and see. Or how to see and have a vision. Know what I mean?
(By the way, take a look at his impressive amount of inspiring drawings and portraits in the second part of his online phd thesis, here)

Also, he's pushed me to look, and find inside my personality, things I didn't know I had, and could bring to my drawings. Those drawing exercises changed my personality awareness. It pretty much changed my life, I have to say. I find this last aspect, regarding portraits, extremely important. 
I think that, that was the time I truly understood the psychological potential of drawing.

He's also found a way of making unforgettable our last day of classes with him, since he did a movie, with classical music and all of our best works. This was such a success that, he later told me, he started doing it every year. No wonder we loved him so much, and affectionately nicknamed him Superman 

Be my next Portrait

Writing about all those key figures and moments in my evolution process, can make you understand my work now, a bit better.

I'm truly passionate about depth and the conjuncture of people, things, and places. That being said, it's obvious why I mind so much about the personality of the person, and to what is happening in the moment that I'm making the drawing. So, for me, and depending on the circumstances, the personality and the moment are two ingredients that really need to be in a portrait.

When I think about drawing someone, I think about which drawing expression I want the portrait to have, which colors, textures, and senses that person carries in her soul. I feel like I need to adjust, all that, to the person standing in front of me.

I have been drawing lots of people, in the street, in public transports, in school, while traveling, during shows and now I feel an urge to draw people in other contexts too. I feel like there are endless possibilities here! 

A portrait is something that lasts and that doesn't resemble to anything else! It's a unique and unrepeatable moment.

Whoever's been portrayed by me, and feels like commenting it, please share your experience here!

And if you are interested in being portrayed by me or in having a portrait of someone else made by me, you can order it to me. Please send me a message for more details.

The portrait can be of yourself, to mark an important moment of your life, to make timeless a certain phase of your children or parents, to have your idol represented in a different way, a special gift to surprise your girlfriend, husband, best friend, or can even be a reminder of that special someone that's already gone. It's up to you!

My core concept in these portraits is that together, we can make unforgettable what we have best!

4 comentários:

  1. Beijinho grande muitos parabéns, és uma grande ARTISTA.

  2. lovely Rita.
    Sending this to my mother, also a painter and portrait-artist, who also inspired me a great deal and is an art teacher. x x

    1. Oh Uau, Nina! Thank's! Can you email me some of her work? Would love to see it!