In conversation with self taught Portuguese illustrator Tiago Galo from Alvalade, Lisbon.
Can you talk about your journey into or interest the arts?
I would describe my journey to be about an illustrator that wanted to be an architect that wanted to be an illustrator. I always had this fascination for comics as a kid and as I grew up I started out with some friends making small home-made fanzines and collaborating with school publications. As I pursued that, architecture also made its impact, mostly when I started studying the Bauhaus movement in which painting, design, and architecture were getting influenced by one another. It gave me the sense that I could still get myself involved with all of them if I pursued architecture.
But in the end working as an architect turned out to be such an intense and overwhelming experience that really didn’t make any space left for other things to happen, so for a while, I left illustration aside. Since this wasn’t making me happy, I had to leave architecture behind and started studying art direction which seemed a great way to get back on track to pursue design and illustration. I started to participate in illustration and comics competitions and even won some. That made me realise that I was on the right track.
Can you talk about the influences upon your work?
Blexbolex is one of my favourite illustrators. I’m really into the geometric and cubist styles and I think they are all breakthrough artists on these subjects.
Your work is very varied, including street art, made objects and collage. How do you best describe your creating practice?
I have a real urge to explore this simple and colourful geometric shapes not only on paper and digital but also in their relationship with space and architecture. So I see it as a natural process on creating. I also always looking for new mediums either ceramics, epoxys, wood transfers… it’s important for me to explore and not to be limited to only one creative environment.
Can you talk about your process of working. How do you work, how often, is there a particular pattern?
There isn’t a pattern really. I just try not to be closed on my studio working for too much time in a row, as I feel is important to my work process to get stimulated by as many stuff as I can. Either on the internet or outside, that’s what makes me gather perspective on the work I’m currently doing or on a particular subject I’m exploring. I just don’t want to feel that today’s work won’t please me tomorrow.
How do you balance personal work with commissioned work?
More and more my personal work just happens between the gaps of my commissioned work. I have less and less time for my personal projects and that’s something I have to balance. Don’t get me wrong, the commissioned work is very important and once in a while I get one of those dream commissions for a respected brand or publisher, but it’s from my personal work that I find space to evolve and try different things as I think it’s very important to as artist to evolve and find new ways of expression.
Do you find the process of creating work relaxing or therapeutic?
I couldn’t imagine a better way to relax than to do what I do. Even on more stressed or difficult commissions I find a way to enjoy myself. That’s the perks of working on something that you love.