In 2001 one thirteen year old Brazilian boy wielded a spray can for the first time… Thirteen years further L7M, now 26, has scarcely looked back. From his home city of Sao Paolo this prolific artist has sent colourful birds migrating onto walls on a worldwide scale. In light of his recent globetrotting, VNA got in touch with L7M for a short interview to find out a little more about his life and work.
JS: The story of your beginning is very interesting, not in the least because you began when you were so young. How did things start for you?
L7M: I always loved to paint and draw however when I was 13 years old I first started to get in touch with graffiti and tags. I found some spray cans in my father’s room and that is what lead me to begin to paint on the streets. All the way along I was trying to put on the walls what I made on the paper.
JS: Not only did you begin at a very young age but you also practiced initially within a very small town. How do you feel this small town upbringing has affected the way not only you, but also your art has grown?
L7M: I believe that like any street artist I am influenced by the big however I also take lots of inspiration from smaller places. Because of this I often like to paint my art in small cities that have little other contact with street art. As well as this, my hometown is a special place for me. It is there that I started to paint some abandoned places. I love to paint my art in abandoned places, abandoned by people and time. I find that I can absorb the energy of these forgotten locations, they are like temples for me, where I can express myself freely.
JS: How would you describe your work as if to someone who had never seen it before?
L7M: My art is a reflection of the way I see life nowadays.
The focus of my art is the point where the abstract and realism meets the chaos and reflects upon my aesthetic. The way I express my relationship with chaos uses Birds, Faces and Jellyfish…These are symbolic to me of recurrent issues in my artistic career since my childhood. The birds are symbolic to me of a constant strive to find freedom in a chaotic setting. The search for freedom is tireless. The faces are like angels, into them I paint everything I sense, feel and see in the place. To paint faces is a virtue to me.
JS: Your style is very unique, what inspired it and how does it evolve?
L7M: My style is a mix of everything I like to paint with both abstract and realism. The mean idea is do reproduce something in my way, working my own identity. I try not to be influenced by other artists and to keep true to myself alone, which has also helped me a lot to get into my personal style.
JS: Do you have any upcoming plans and what other exciting things can we expect from L7M in the future?
L7M: I intend to take my art all over the world, and keep sending my visual messages. I believe art has the power to change people’s lives and I want to make art for the rest of my life. A phrase I like to use which would perhaps answer your question is “Nec spe ned metu.” It means “No Hope, No fear” and it was said by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio.
At this moment I am at my third tour. This world tour is part of the project I have, where I sent my artistic messages to everyone. I try to do everything totally independently. This time I visited 9 European cities. The main idea is to take my faces and birds to the world, especially using images of local birds and birds in extinction, using everything I see to inspire me.