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Fernando Chamarelli comes to Chicago for his solo show "Among Photons"

Posted on October 12, 2013 by Patrick Hull

Brazilian artist Fernando Chamarelli relies heavily on intuition to create his kaleidoscopic acrylic paintings and illustrations. His works, which explore mythology, culture, and emotion, create an incredible visual combination of calculated order and psychedelic chaos.

Chamarelli, who has not visited the United States since 2010, is looking forward to his solo exhibition at Vertical Gallery. He has shown in San Jose, Los Angeles, and Portland, but he is excited to be exhibiting in Chicago for the first time, and has been working diligently on his current body of work for the past year. In addition to several big works on canvas, Chamarelli plans to create a large-scale installation in the gallery. Although he has never visited Chicago, he does not expect to be disappointed by the city. “I imagine a big city like São Paulo, and I think it will be great. When I visited California for the first time, I realized that the people there really love art and appreciate artists. I think that Chicago will be no different. It will be a very fun trip… I just hope it isn’t too cold there in October,” he joked.

The artist, who started painting less than ten years ago, has already achieved major success and recognition, exhibiting all over the world, and winning the admiration of corporate clients like Absolut, Microsoft, Umbro, and Nike. Although Chamarelli started painting in 2007, it was not until he quit his graphic design job in 2009 and began to earn a living solely from his art that he truly began to identify as an artist. “Unlike other artists, I started drawing later in adolescence. I was attracted to all forms of art- caricatures, cartoons, realistic portraits, street art, tattoos… my style was still developing, until I began to paint on canvas,” he said.

Chamarelli, who has a degree in illustration and graphic design, employs his formal education when beginning a new piece. Working from a sketch, he then starts to flesh out shapes, balance, and color. Once the image is complete, he draws it on the canvas and begins to paint. “I rely heavily on my intuition,” he said. “Especially at the beginning of the work. Traces flow naturally, and unconsciously, the characters begin to appear.” Although his process is generally pretty straightforward, he is exploring the idea of using alternative materials. He is interested in experimenting with oil paint, painting on wood, and creating street murals.

He is not intimidated by a blank white canvas. “I have many things in my head that want to get out,” he said. To find inspiration, he reads about ancient civilizations and myths, and researches gods and symbols. He watches videos of other artists at work. He explores nature and finds inspiration in the rich Brazilian culture and natural environment. “I was born and raised in a small town in Brazil. There were many rivers and waterfalls that I visited often, and the organic shapes, birds, and fish that are present in my works are reminders of this period in my life. Brazil is a multiethnic country with rich culture- I like to explore this in my art as well.”

Although Chamarelli looks more to his inner self than outside influences to create, he finds creativity and influence in meeting interesting people, visiting new places, experiencing new things, and listening to experimental music and the music of northeastern Brazil. “Music is very important to me. I always say that it is the drug that I use when I’m creating.” Each image is created from his imagination, and for this exhibition, the works address a new era that we are entering. “A grand cycle is complete, and many ancient civilizations knew about it. These artworks are all about mysteries, myths, and fantasies that involve this important moment,” Chamarelli said.

The painter has plans to explore his creativity in new ways. Although he is enjoying his current practice, “I do not want to stop here,” he said. “Sculpture is the next step. However, I do not like to think too far in the future. Last year, I moved to southern Brazil, to a beautiful island called Florianópolis. I’m enjoying it here, but I’m thinking of moving to another country next year, for the sake of creating new experiences for myself. That’s all I know about my future right now, because I always let the art guide me. I trust her a lot.”

Fernando Chamarelli’s solo exhibition will be on display at Vertical Gallery from October 12th until November 9th, with an opening reception on October 12th from 6-10 pm. Do not miss this chance to meet the artist and view his works, including a temporary installation exclusive to Vertical Gallery.

Interview by Shannon Gallagher

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