Introducing...JAS - João Alexandrino

Our first interview with newly joined CAMP artist João Alexandrino
December 27, 2023
Introducing...JAS - João Alexandrino
As the year comes to a close, we here at the gallery want to unveil our newly arriving additions to the CAMPers roster! The first spotlight we're featuring is Portugeuse multimedia artist João Alexandrino, also know as JAS, as we get to sit down and delve into his mind for the ideas behind his work and methodolgy.
When did you Know that you were an artist?
I think we are born artists. When we are born we are introduced to materials for drawing, painting, sculpting, etc... As we grow we stop practicing it, we gain awareness and these activities fade away. I though continued... my Father already drew and I wanted to be like him. I always had access to materials and became a hostage of thought.
Is there an artist that you feel inspired you to become an artist. If so who and how?
I always felt that my path would be through creation, whatever it was. At a young age we are "confronted" with information, I began to learn about the history of art, the artistic movements and their frameworks, I wanted to see everything, get to know all the artists, understand their lives and why they made art, what they wanted to say with what they produced. I remember an Artist who mesmerized me with his expression, spontaneity and thought, and that was Basquiat. The relationship between street art and his expression as a neo-expressionist painter was incredible. It was something that left me unsettled and wanting to produce more. I feel that this was the first inspiration that created a greater concern in relation to the artistic universe. Later I met other artists who also influenced me, such as Jean Dubuffet, the German artist Joseph Beuys, Anselm Kiefer, David Hockney, William Kentridge, Picasso, Goya's engravings, among many painting classics. Answering this question is -  difficult.
Do you have a routine when creating art? What does your set up look like?
I am a slave to thought, the routine of creation is constant, it occupies all my space, thoughts and decisions. I don't have a specific moment to create Art, normally it can happen that I arrive at the Atelier and do absolutely nothing, but that is part of the process and progress. The studio is a sacred space of thought, where all the things I find and discover live. I can't have a space that doesn't belong to creation. For me, being an Artist is not a profession but a lifestyle. Like a Scientist who seeks and then finds.
Why your medium?
I am an Artist who suffers from a certain hyperactivity, I want to be everywhere, I feel attracted to different media. Painting and drawing, installation associated with scenography, performance and video, these are preponderant elements in my work. They are means that interconnect to conclude objects and relationships with other dialogues. The Stage has been an extension of my Studio, of my sketchbooks. I use glass, light and paint to inhabit these scenographic spaces, drawing in real time, the relationship with the amplitude, scale and speed of a movement associated with a sound, various sounds, textures of sounds. A kind of drawn score and the sound is a score of the drawing. Materials and the impulses they bring are always a means that  I try to correspond to what I intend to do.
What have you learned from your art?
My work helps me understand the world, ask questions, find answers. It is a vehicle that helps me find a position in life, since life is an immense enigma. I think that Art is like life, it has both pleasure and dissatisfaction. Art makes the illegible palpable. Art teaches me to understand my place in the World.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration in work, in the sequence of thoughts, in Love, or even in war. Art is an expression of life and it is in life that I find the formulas that can be called inspiration. I don't understand Art as a decorative formula, or to beautify a house, for me it has a superior expansion, it is not decorative, it is Politics above all. It is a weapon of defense against enemies. I find inspiration on my path. I think Art is a mirror of the health of the planet.
Which of all of your artworks is your favorite and why?
I don't have a work that is my most favorite work, I may have greater affection for one or the other. It's a difficult question to answer, because I paint in series and the entirety of this series will define the general and final vibe of what I create. I have collections that define spaces in my life and that I like, or that gave me pleasure in developing them. I particularly like almost all of them, because they are all a sequel to the next one to come. I have constant dissatisfaction with what I develop, often it is a feeling that never arrives and that never completes me. Complete in the moment and deconstructs immediately afterwards. That keeps me going and that's when I have my favorite work, when I think I find it, minutes later or the next day the feeling is no longer the same. Then I repeat the whole process again.
What do you want the viewer to gain when first encountering your work?
I would like my work to have the function of stimulating thought to think, I would like that with this stimulus people (viewers) could find harmonious solutions in their lives. I don't paint to decorate houses, but I know that paintings end up living inside people's homes, but whoever acquires them doesn't know why, but they know that there is something in them that disturbs them, that calms them or that makes them feel more complete. This is the feeling I want people who observe my art to feel. They are like windows to another dimension, where the look is allowed to go beyond what is visible.
Which is your favorite museum/art space and why?
One of the spaces that marked me the most was in Brazil, called Inhotim. The Inhotim Institute is located within the Atlantic Forest domain in Brumadinho and is the largest center for outdoor contemporary art in Latin America. It is impressive how the dialogue between Art and architectural spaces is in tune with Nature. There are 450 works by Brazilian and foreign artists, artists such as Cildo Meireles, Tunga, Vik Muniz, Hélio Oiticica, Ernesto Neto, Matthew Barney, Doug Aitken, Chris Burden, Yayoi Kusama, Paul McCarthy, Zhang Huan, Valeska Soares, Marcellvs and Rivane Neuenschwander, between others. I would love to exhibit my work there. There are many other spaces that really left an impression on me, and I will leave one last one that is very special to me and has a wonderful Afro-Brazilian collection, which is Museu Afro-Brasil Emanoel Araujo in São Paulo, located in Ibirapuera Park.
If you could invite four artists from history to dinner at your place, who would they be, why them and what would you serve them?
I would invite Turner, Picasso, Modigliani and Amadeo de Souza Cardoso, and serve grilled sardines, on June 24th, my birthday. On that day, Saint John's Day is celebrated. I'm sure it would be a fantastic moment and everyone would have a sardine painted on one of their canvases. I would invite these 4 artists because I think they would all be incompatible with each other.

About the author

Gabe Torres

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