Interview: Simao Mota Carneiro

Simao Mota Carneiro painter Lisbon Portugal

In conversation with Lisbon based artist Simao Mota Carneiro.



Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?

I think all children are born with some creativity, and since I remember, I always loved drawing. It was something very special for me, and it stays like that until today.

My grandfather was a doctor, but his major passion was painting. Since I was a kid I loved to watch him painting, and one of my best memories is the smell of oil painting. My father took me with him to visit several exhibitions, which has deepened my interest in the arts. Therefore, I consider that some of my child experiences have contributed, for at this moment, to be doing, and loving, what I’m doing today.


Can you talk about the influences upon your work?

I think the major influences in my work are Luc Tuymans, Michaël Borremans, Alex Katz, Francis Bacon, Wilhelm Sasnal and Neo Rauch.

In a certain way, everything that surrounds me has influence in my work, and because of that I feel like a vehicle for painting. It’s almost like a way of thinking.

I really enjoy going to exhibitions in different museums, seeing paintings in general, and relating myself with other artists, because all of that stimulates my desire for painting.


What themes are you exploring through your work?

I usually don’t concentrate on a specific topic, because I rather let the process be more open and develop my work more organically.

In some way I think it adds more value to my work the choices I make consistently as the ones I made unconscious later on.


Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?

I don’t have any particular pattern to make my work. I’m definitely not a 9 to 5 painter. I would like to be more consistent and methodic on my work, but I like painting when I feel the inspiration to do it, and so I can’t force myself if I’m not in that mood.

Usually I work on the weekends at night, because it is when everyone else is sleeping. I almost have a feeling of peace, and a deeper concentration. I would risk to say that it is something magical when everyone is sleeping.

I like to work on several pieces at the same time. This takes the pressure off an individual piece of work, but also the result is that I have some links between the work as a whole. I work mostly instinctively.


What is the process of developing a personals body of work?

It takes time and patience, I think the most important thing in my work is to be true to myself and paint what interests me. Sometimes it is a bit scary to follow this way of thinking, but I have to be honest with myself.

With time passing by, I can see more clearly what interests me and where I’m going. The key is to trust the process!


Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic?

Usually I have two moments: the first is when I didn’t start working yet, and to be honest, that is the opposite of therapeutic. It is difficult to start a work without knowing exactly what I want to do, when I haven’t even started. But once I pass that barrier, comes the second moment, when I start to loosen up, which feels very relaxing to see everything start to become in the right way. When I’m fully focused on my paintings I almost don’t feel like it is me that is working, but instead I’m just an observer of something that is starting to happen.

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