SITE95

10.08.12 Interview with André Crespo Vila Madalena, São Paulo, Brazil by Mario Pais, edited by Paul Schroeder

I first saw André Crespo’s work while visiting São Paulo in 2001, where he was exhibiting a few pieces from his mono-color collection. I did not have a chance to meet him at the time, but years later I gave him a call from Washington, DC, where I was working as a Public Relations Director for Habatat Galleries. Crespo sent me seven pieces, including “Barra de São João” and “Bom retiro,” which formed his first exhibition in the United States in 2008.Now in 2012, I am pleased to have the opportunity interview him for site95. Prior to the interview, I walked along the famous artistic Vila Ma- dalena in São Paulo, Brazil where Crespo makes his home. Crespo’s atelier wall is surrounded and ensconced in paintings, and some of his work resides on the common stairway of the Vila.Our interview was very casual, as Crespo can speak for hours without interruption and is full of energy, as well as a very pleasant person for a conversation that I have transcribed here.
When asked about his background, Crespo explains, “I almost became a professional soccer player but I attended Recreart in 1991 (a drawing school in São Paulo) and was given several screens and paint. My art teacher was Newton Mesquita, a great master of plastic arts in Brazil, who helped me develop my work.”
Day-by-dayImages of people rushing in their daily routines in Crespo’s paintings are really something to be seen. These themes are inspired by his urban life and experiences within his quotidian life and travels. Crespo engages di- rectly to his work, “sometimes I’m the artist, sometimes the character, sometimes both.” Crespo cites a combination of factors for his inspira- tion, but mostly from living over ten years in the most bohemian neigh- borhood of São Paulo, Vila Madalena, where culinary, theater, concerts and parties create a unique cultural nightlife. São Paulo allows bars and restaurants to stay open until the last customer leaves, so it is not unusual to find people stopping at the bakery at 6:00 am for a coffee after a night of partying while others are going to work. It is in this environment that Crespo finds subject matter in his work.
Crespo observes morning buses, rush hour traffic and directly engages with morning commuters. The neighborhood and community around him directly inspire him and he likes to be connected with the people and happenings in his surroundings. When asked what part of the creation process he enjoys the most, Crespo replied that he “likes the pursuit; the action of creating new scenes and new visions, (this) is what keeps me painting.”
Crespo’s phone rang a couple of times during the interview. A collector had to cancel an appointment. Later they called again to re-schedule. I saw two large paintings that he has just finished for a couple of collectors. This is a day in the life of André Crespo, “Everything makes sense in my corner, my house is my atelier. With my wife, I am surrounded by my paintings and my paint, my plants and good wine. It’s good to keep life enthusiastic: to smile and be generous, and treat women with flowers!”