Interview with Decolife as he prepares for his first solo exhibition in London
We first met Andre Deco in 2013 when he first came to London. Originally from Sao Paulo in Brazil he had been wandering! Travelling Europe for two years he would follow his instinct in terms of where to go next. Trading artworks for basic necessities and moving all the time in order to experience somewhere new. Eventually landing in London it was here where he felt at home and settled.
A chance meeting with London based artists Artista and Irony really kick started his street career in the city. Bumping into them painting around Shoreditch shortly after he arrived, he asked to join in despite not speaking much English at the time and never looked back.
Signing as Decolife, he is prolific, his apartment turned studio is full. He shows me a giant diptych and then pulls out a mosaiced door. Mosaicing is a new thing, he only started in 2017 yet the door looks like it has been created by someone with years of experience. He also shows me a mosaiced spray can which is both random and cool at the same time. Elsewhere there are works in wood and polystyrene alongside traditional canvasses and drawings.
Art is everywhere! I am being shown paper sketches, hundreds of them. Moments in time drawn as it is experienced. They cover the desk alongside stickers and flyers for his latest show, ‘As Above, So Below‘. He’s exhibited before, notably in Istanbul and of course Sao Paulo but this will be his first solo show in London and it’ll be a big one. There are 59 pieces so far and that’s not including the smaller paper works.
Describing himself as a realist painter, it’s a description which might come as a surprise for people familiar with his work. “I accept it when people call my work abstract but for me it’s the reality I live in” he tells me. His work is certainly eclectic, he paints fast and seemingly on instinct but that is what his reality is at that particular time.
He is also an avid reader. Behind him as we speak I notice the two full bookcases filled with tomes on science, religion and art history. They all provide him with inspiration allowing himself to immerse in a topic. Living in Golders Green, a neighbourhood with a large Jewish population, he has chosen to learn about the Torah and to take hebrew lessons. “I don’t know if I first find the community and then decide to study about it or if it’s the other way round” he tells me.
Deco can talk with passion about art history too and it’s clear that this is something he studies intently. He talks to me about Hockney and his use of the vanishing point. Not something I ever knew before but very interesting nonetheless as I learn about his use of perspective.
He also speaks about his passion for the work of George Braque and cubism as well as and the works of Joan Miro, Paul Klee, Kandinsky and Marc Chagall. “Everything quality I would like to have in my paintings is there when standing right in front of big Miro paintings or paintings by Chagall.” he tells me. You can see it too, looking at a lot of his work and the influences are clear. “Me as a creator I like very much to learn about other creators.”
Decolife has clearly been on a journey. He talks a lot about the different ages of his art and that’s what his exhibition will show, it will be his evolution. He talks about it being a “work in progress” and “never ending” as his work is always developing. It’s very much like a horizontal line he tells me “that we can never reach, as much as we walk the horizontal line keeps moving.”
Decolife was interviewed at his studio in Golders Green on Friday 16 February 2018. His exhibition ‘As Above, So Below’ will show at the Framers Gallery, 26 Windmill Street, W1T 2JT from 1-9 March 2018. The show is being curated in connection with ‘The Cult House‘ and the private view is on 6 March 2018.
For other Inspiring City articles featuring the work of Decolife check out: