Time Out São Paulo

Henrique Oliveira: In the studio

A typical working day in the life of painter and sculptor Henrique Oliveira.

'My studio is in Lapa, in a warehouse of about 150 square metres. It’s a really quiet area and I like it. I need calm to work. There is noise, but we’re the ones that make it when we’re working on wooden sculptures or installations. I do that mainly in the afternoon. At night, I paint. It’s a big, open space – no walls. There’s another living space with two bookshelves, and a little kitchen, and two other artists, Adams Carvalho and Paulo Whitaker. We converse, we work, we take a little coffee break.

'I listen to music when I’m working. The last thing I listened to was David Bowie – I like Space Oddity a lot. He helps the painting process. For sculpture, I listen more to the Clash and the Sex Pistols. It goes better with the noise of the work.

'When I’m painting, sometimes I start with a design. Sometimes I start painting something small, or something big. Sometimes I just throw paint on, or lift up the canvas and let the paint run. Sometimes it’s more of a collage. It’s a bit more chaotic, but I like a mixture of colours and textures.

'Today, there are three massive wooden sculptures on the wall, plus some paintings I’m working on. In the New Year, I’m going to the USA for two exhibitions. I’m going to put up installations, so normally I stay three weeks. I like to travel, to meet people and do new projects. I’ve always liked to travel, so I chose the right profession. As an artist, you can choose your own hours. Not like people who travel for work and spend the whole time working.

'I lived in London for a year in 2001, in New Cross Gate. It was really cool. In England, with Lucien Freud there is this tradition of meat, of skin. That may have influenced some of my more visceral works. Some of my paintings are more colourful, which may have a little more to do with David Hockney. I’ve made a living from art for about four years. I’m 37 and I don’t have any children, so that helps.'

By Dom Phillips


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