Rafael Monteiro Bicalho

An artful conversation

M4M: I’m glad that we could do this interview. First, you art is amazing. It's reminiscent of various touches of moments from my childhood. In the early 90’s here in America we had our first major outlets of manga, anime, PlayStation console gaming; as well as foreign shows being shown on the “SCI-FI” channel.

RMB: I am happy to be here as well, thanks for having me and to take an interest in my work. Oh man I miss the PlayStation one days.

M4M: Your artwork reminds me of one of my favorite artists David Lapham (Rai from Valiant comics, 90’s circa), and the legendary Peter Chung (Reign the Conqueror, AEon Flux and Dark Fury). However, you have a lot more going on in your artwork; let’s get into it! M4M: Could you give a brief intro to those who may not be familiar with your work?

RMB: Of course, my name is Rafael Monteiro Bicalho, I am an artist from Brazil, I take a huge interest and love in the cyberpunk genre of cinema as well as science fiction, and that love is manifested in every bit of work I put out. I always try be to in a position of constant learning and because of that I became some kind of generalist and worked on a variety of projects in my life.

M4M: Being from the States, we see Brazil as a land of beautiful women, samba, and Carnival. Yet, Brazil is much more than that. What influences in culture and art influenced you on your journey?

RMB: That is a very good question, every artist art is affected by where they grew up and how life was growing up, and it is the same for culture, some people say that my art is very vibrant and colorful and that sometimes I play a lot with different colors, I guess that could be true and if it is that may relate to where I came from culture-wise, since here in Brazil things are very colorful. Artistically I was inspired by so many things that it is kind of hard to point out specifics, I liked graffiti a lot as a kid, later on in life, I was strongly drawn into abstract art, anime definitely had a huge impact on me also.

M4M: I would like to find out more about the Brazilian art culture there, what publications or artists would you recommend that had a strong impression for the last few decades?

RMB: I would recommend to check out Rafael's Grassetti work, he became the art director for the last god of war game, he became a role model here in Brazil, and I would recommend you to check out Victor Hugo Harmatiuk's work, he is my favorite Brazilian concept artist, but if you're searching more for an artist that had a huge impact in our culture that would be Romero Britto.

M4M: I have heard that Sao Paulo is the Art center in Brazil, how does Belo Horizonte stand up?

RMB: Yes São Paulo is definitely where things go boom here in Brazil, Belo Horizonte in the other hand is very, very small not only in size but also in the art industry, it is growing, and hopefully it will grow more towards games and entertainment all tho I do not believe that is something near. But I've worked with different clients worldwide and I enjoy that a lot, so I try not to focus at a specific place in the world, I do strongly believe that working worldwide from home is totally possible and it has been for me.

M4M: I think that's definitely possibly in the age that we live in. Social media is a huge game changer for the artist and entrepreneur. For example, platform for gaming has shown that game platforming could definitely be a source of viable income. I remember when my mom used to say "Get off that game, you can't play games all day it's not like you can make money off it". Wow, things sure change. Now, it's the same thing with digital arts, especially with the wide fan base and millions on the platforms.

M4M: When did you first consider a career as a professional artist? I remember when the argument first came about in art class when I was in college, “Digital Art, is not real art”. I was personally opposed to digital art in the beginning, now I champion the digital arts. Did you have a similar experience? If so, what changed?

RMB: I never had any other option really, I picked up digital art very early in my life, so I never developed any other interests career-wise, and when I got out of school I literally did not have any other skill, so it was either that or nothing at all. I had the opposite experience actually, all-tho I was into drawing as I believe everyone was, I was very impatient towards traditional art, I respected it, learned from it, and admired it but it was not for me, I was more interested in learning digital arts, and by the time I was in college, digital art was the thing, so everyone was more into that than traditional arts even tho we had training in traditional arts in the beginning of the course.

M4M: LOL. That's accurate. I remember when at art college, my art teacher first introduced us to Photoshop. I enjoyed the program, but didn't originally get into the groove of it. However, when we used illustrator I then began to understand the possibilities of what digital art can do. What 3d program blew your mind away, as far as what you realized how far you could express your ideas.

RMB: I think that I would say Blender, it is the most recent mind-blowing thing for me, it has so many procedural add-ons that help you create and conceptualize even more and faster, increasing your output.

M4M: your favorite music you're listening to now?