A child of a bustling city of contrast and colors, Rodrigo Branco‘s affinity for abstraction may come as no surprise. But his blurred portraits of local people in São Paulo, created using patches of colors and expressive strokes, are actual representations of what the artist used to see as a little kid. Raised in the southern outskirts of the city, Branco had a severe vision impairment that was left untreated for years.
This significantly distorted his view of reality, and it wasn’t until later in life that he realized he’d been seeing the world through an unique visual filter. Seeing objects in different shapes, colors in different shades, it was the way Branco saw people’s faces that left the strongest impact on him. During his frequent visits to a local circus, for instance, he would see clowns as stack of huge colored objects with a big red circle in the middle. When years later he started stepping away from traditional letter-based graffiti, photographs taken by his father and vivid memories from his childhood influenced him to start painting these characters.
Last year, he was commissioned by the MyFinBec to create a series of original images for their annual art project. Over a course of couple of months, layering different mediums and reinventing the images, the Brazilian artist created a series of 42 paintings on canvas titled “Distintos Filhos” (“Distinct Family”). Aiming to make an artistic interpretation of the characters involved in his everyday life, he painted his friends, family members, neighbors and random people from the street. Using their photos from identity cards as a basis for the portraits, and mixing colors of the urban surroundings with strong features of people, Branco’s new body of work is haunting and emotive, even nostalgic, at the same time.