Gabriel Mello Franco

Our list of talented friends seems endless! Gabriel Mello Franco is an artist from Rio de Janeiro whose work is presented in a very peculiar style: versatile, critical and humorous. Aesthetically, it is impossible not to notice his talent for tracing and crafting visual pieces. Amidst the release of a group exhibition in Galeria Graphos, we had a casual conversation with him.

Q: How did you discover your artistic side and in which moment did you decide to follow this path?
A: I don’t exactly recall in which moment it began. However, when I was a kid, my mother was an artist and my house had paint everywhere. I really liked to go with her to the atelier. A classic story that she usually tells is that she used to call home, asking whether me or my brother needed anything, and I always answered the same thing: Chamequinho (a Brazilian brand of white sheet packages). 
Q: Collage, illustration, painting, street art. You are very versatile. How do you, even using different techniques and aesthetics, manage to give your work such a peculiar identity?
A: I believe the main objective of my art is the message, which can be conveyed in many ways. The relationship between both is a natural thing. I don’t worry about that during the process, but something that identifies me somehow ends up arising naturally.
Q: A keen sense of humor is pretty evident in your work, and a lot of times it’s politically incorrect. Could you speak more about this characteristic of yours and the type of message you try transmitting with it?
A: Humor is indeed a characteristic of mine. I like to fool around with friends, make people laugh and laugh along with them. I try to see things by the positive side and joke over the bad side. Because if it’s already bad, it’s better to laugh, isn’t it? Crying makes it worse. This shows up in my work.

Q: The passion for your soccer team, Botafogo, is something that couldn’t be left unmentioned. In which way do you integrate this feeling to your work?
A: I am a very typical Botafogo fan.  I talk a lot about the past, I suffer for weeks with the defeats and I have all possible superstitions. But it only influences my work in the process. Regardless of the schedule, time or importance, the process is stopped in the middle of the afternoon on game days. Then I can even compensate time by working at dawn, but on game days I need this concentration time before and during the match.
Q: Tell us something unusual about you. It can be a superstition, habit or any strange thing you may want to share.
A: I tend to carry a sketchbook and a “life-guarding” case with drawing materials, even though I might not use them. If I stay too long without having anything that can be used to draw nearby, I feel a little weird. This can be disrupting when I’m on the street and when I’m sleeping in my girlfriend’s house. I need to go home and pick up these things, only to sleep near them.
Q: How do you see the art scene in Rio de Janeiro and how do you belong to it?
A: I think the art in Rio is good, very diverse. I see myself in a good path, still at the beginning and still needing to grow, but I’ve been dedicating myself to that. I’m near a bunch of good people and walking together is always better, we push each other forward.
Q: Could you leave a visual record, be it a drawing, photo or collage, of your particular universe of passions and inspirations?


 Valeu, Foguin! :)