artnet Asks: Lucas Arruda

Brazil's hottest young painter talks inspiration and existentialism.

Photo: TiagoQueiroz via Estadão


Photo: TiagoQueiroz via Estadão

Photo: Tiago Queiroz via Estadão

At only 31, painter Lucas Arruda has the Brazilian art world under a spell. His small landscapes and seascapes are refreshingly existential, effortlessly exploring the dialogue between paint and canvas. The artist is at the forefront of a group of young Saõ Paolo painters who are bringing painting back into the focus of an art scene that has long been dominated by conceptual and video art. In Arruda’s native Brazil demand for his work is so high that his last exhibition, Deserto-Modelo at Mendes Wood DM, sold out and a long list of collectors are now hoping to get their hands on one of his paintings.

Shortly after the opening of his first European solo show: Deserto-Modelo at VeneKlasen/Werner in Berlin, the artist sat down with artnet News to talk about his art.

When did you know you wanted to be an artist?

Since I was young, art was the only thing that could hold my concentration. I knew I wanted to be an artist since I started to have existential concerns.

What inspires you?

The light.

Lucas Arruda Untitled (2014)

Lucas Arruda Untitled (2014)

Tell us about your creative process.

My studio practice is central to the creative process. I work surrounded by my references to art, my experiences with the world, and the way I relate to life. I don’t have a plan, fixed project, or perceived idea before the start of a new work, each painting shows me how to continue. Painting for me is like having a candle in the dark that allows you to see only what is close to you.

If you could own any work of modern or contemporary art, what would it be?

Armando Reveron’s El Playon, Cocoteros en la Playa, La luz tras mi enramada, or El Arbol.

How do you evaluate Brazil’s contemporary art scene?

Exciting and diverse. I am a big fan of naïve Brazilian artists such as José Bezerra, who has gained more attention in the last few years.

Lucas Arruda Untitled (2014)

Lucas Arruda Untitled (2014)

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on a solo-show at PIVÔ, a contemporary art space in the Oscar Niemeyer Copan building in São Paulo, opening in April 2015, and a solo show at LULU in Mexico City.

Lucas Arruda Untitled (2014)

Lucas Arruda Untitled (2014)

If you weren’t an artist what would you be?

A professional surfer or a professional boxer.

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