“Finding Harmony In Chaos” – The Art of Felipe Froeder
by Mia Makila
Look at all those eyes staring directly at us. So many eyes. Six eyes to be exact. Another face with fourteen! What an intense energy they create. The visual magician behind the intense energy, is dark surrealist and digital collage artist Felipe Froeder (also known as Arcano XV), based in Curitiba, Brazil. I had the pleasure of interviewing Froeder in an inspiring correspondence of e-mails.
I love how repetition is part of your visual language. Repetition of eyes, arms, objects and details. What does this repetition represent in your work?
[FELIPE FROEDER]: I like to explore the expressive potentialities of the human body, seeking in its anatomical diversity opportunities to create new body compositions through the repetition of limbs, deformations and overlapping elements. It is a process of finding harmony in chaos. Also, finding the perfect anatomical connections – as in a mandala, where elements are repeated creating an unity. The repetition of patterns or forms has an almost mystical kinetics, which reinforces the surreal and dreamlike essence that I seek in my works.
What is your technique and creative process like? Take us through it step by step.
As I work with digital collage I use public domain paintings as raw material for creations. My work is essentially figurative and that’s why Baroque painters are often my favorite, because the realism, the dramatic intensity of the expressions and the asymmetrical body compositions help me to deconstruct them, creating these bizarre and misshapen beings that I share. A toast to the baroque painters!
When I create, I try not to let any particular reference become an indispensable guide to getting the job done. I like to move between different subjects, merging references, so that the result is able to generate harmonic interactions between antagonistic symbols, exploring multiple thoughts in a free association of ideas, creating new perspectives on a theme.
This is why I am always learning, with each new creation I walk an absolutely unknown path that does not claim to be defined. Associations and meanings occur naturally, accompanying the dynamics of creation.
Where does the darkness in your work come from?
I have always been fascinated by the theme of death and the transformations of matter arising from this natural process. Monsters, demons and the whole fantastic universe of horror movies and literature have always inhabited my imagination, and certainly also had a great influence on me since childhood. Death and its mysteries as well as these tales and macabre beings are – for me – personifications of the unknown or their pure manifestation. It is in this dark element, common to fiction and life itself, that darkness meets. The worst adversaries, the greatest fears, may be precisely the ones we aren’t able to know or name. The ones who observes us vulnerable, in our castrated and powerless rationality.
“I like the idea of giving voice to nightmares.”
~ Felipe Froeder
There is often a driving force behind an artist’s work. Either the artist is searching for something; it could be an answer to a question bothering us or looking an alternative to something that we can not accept. What drives you to make art and what is your ‘search quest’?
I believe that creating is inevitable. We are continually creating. That’s why I want with my works to portray our inner demons, generating discomfort and reflection. I like the idea of giving voice to nightmares. To face the gulf that inevitably surrounds us and understand our constitutive fragility. And in this process, I undertake my own search, not for answers, but for new questions, forever feeding doubt and questioning my convictions.
What inspires you?
Well, inspiration is ubiquitous. I watched countless body horror and splatter movies in my childhood, and throughout my life horror movies and stories have always been one of my favorite pastimes. I had so much fun watching Tales From the Crypt in my childhood! Directors like David Cronenberg, Sam Raimi, Wes Craven and John Carpenter were certainly absolutely inspiring. True masters. Painters like Goya, Francis Bacon, William Blake and Hieronymus Bosch. They are great artists. The folklore, myths, legends and tales of my homeland (Brazil) have always fascinated me. Fantastic and sinister beings inhabit this dark universe that flirts intimately with the reality transmitted through people’s oral tradition. This is all very rich and inspiring to me.
Tell us something that very few people know about you.
I’m a culinary enthusiast! I know how to cook delicious dishes and could easily prepare a dinner for all of us. Hahaha This is an invitation!
Another curious detail: I’m a psychonaut! I have experienced countless sacred plants and visionary substances that blow me away, in a unusual and terrifying level. I think that’s all folks!
– Interview by Mia Makila
Felipe Froeder ( Arcano XV ) on Instagram