One of the great things about living in a chaotic urban environment, where concrete overpowers nature about 75% of the time, is that there is an endless supply of artist canvas. Clean, dirty, compact or parking-lot sized, surfaces suitable for grafitti abound. Suffice it to say that beautiful and strange urban art fills the streets of São Paulo and that some of today’s most talented artists began their artistic journey here. One such grafiteiro (a person who grafittis) is Titi Freak.
For several years, I’ve had the occasional pleasure of running into Titi’s work here in São Paulo while hoofing it to school or zooming through the night lit streets on the way to a club. His finely rendered spray lines make for haunting portraits, usually layered on collages of geometric shapes or lambe-lambes (glued paper) or incorporating found objects from the environment.
His current solo show “Sempre” at Choque Cultural Gallery fills three floors with panels, canvas and site specific work and is a notable departure from his more figurative work. Titi’s trademark heads take on an abstract rendering consisting of layers and layers of lines and colorful shapes that relied heavily on masking tape to create crisp lines for their production. The backgrounds are filled with visual noise, some elements painted, some made from torn paper or collage, and the rest the result of a nasty, deteriorated surface, reminiscent of São Paulo streets.
If you’d like to see more of Titi’s work, try searching for his name on Flickr. Here are a few useful links: