I’m so excited to share the work of London-based artist Sebastião Castelo Lopes as he prepares for a show of recent work at Centre for Recent Drawing (C4RD) in London on 15 September. I was really interested, in researching his work a bit, how his background in drawing has influenced his newer work in sculpture and installation, which takes an occasionally architectural turn.
He explained that the drawings have influenced and continue to inform the 3-D work. “I was exploring the ideas of repetition, of error and of mark making. My work became more object based in the end of last year, and I like to think that there are a couple of principles that I was using to make the works on paper that I’m using now to make the objects.The most important principle that I use on the objects is the exploration of mark-making, as I see them as marks on the space.” The drawing helps to develop the object-based work through a process of sketching and forming on paper before applying it to space.
Lopes just graduated with an MA in Drawing from Wimbledon College of Arts, University of the Arts in London, and I was curious about how he feels as a young artist and recent graduate who finds himself post-university for the first time and navigating the art scene in one of the most active and exciting art cities in the world. So far he’s been making some unexpected strides, but not without some challenges that will sound familiar to many makers out there. “First, as I spend a lot of time in the studio, making work is not the problem, but the quality is. I feel that this problem effects the majority of the artists that spend a lot of time working, the ones that don’t spend enough time in studio have the problem of actually having work. The other big problem for me right now is to have money to stay in the studio all day. This is one problem that I reckon will stay for a long time with me.”
He adds that collaborating with others and exploring different opportunities for showing his work has proven educational, as well as giving him new insight into his own practice. “Being able to work with different artists, different curators and to try new ways of presenting my work, I felt was very important for me and developed my work as well.”
Lopes always possessed a love for constructing and making. He remembers spending time with his grandfather in his garage, learning how to work with wood, and working on projects throughout the summer. He developed an interest in drawing when he was about 15 years old, and stuck with that interest until very recently when he returned to working with wood. His studio is small and packed with work, and it’s a challenge to keep it as organized as possible, especially with numerous projects in various media in the works at any given time. When I asked what his ideal studio would be like, he described it as, first, being much bigger! He also added, “I think it would be nice to work in the same building as other artists; I love the idea of transforming what used to be a solitary occupation into a group one. The idea of sharing ideas and having critiques with other people is something that I really enjoy doing.”
He always carries a sketchbook with him, wherever he goes, and is constantly planning new pieces, and writing new ideas. “I have to search for the materials as I usually try to reuse some material that I find (usually wood). If its a work on paper I start immediately using charcoal, some very basic printing techniques and acrylic paint to create the work.” He spends a lot of time constructing and deconstructing, giving each surface or object a lot of attention, which occasionally gives the impression to the viewer that it was random, quick, or even careless, when in fact much thought has been given to it.
As far as thoughts for young artists or young students just beginning an art program, Lopes recommends working a lot on your own process, but also looking at work — a lot of it. Additionally, although there are plenty of mixed attitudes about it in the art world, an online presence is important for the emerging artist.
I would love if you checked out more of Lopes’ work on Instagram, and if you’re in London, consider checking out his work at C4RD! Additionally, you can see more work and find more information at sebastiaocl.wixsite.com.
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