Celebrating the Creative Culture of Brazil

The newest exhibition at Scion's
Installation L.A. Gallery is buzzing with
the energy of the emerging culture of São
Paulo, Brazil, one of the most diverse
cities in South America.

The exhibition is an explosion of
graffiti and folk art; a fusion of hip-hop
and Brazilian culture.

The show is curated by Choque
Cultural, a gallery based in the city of
São Paolo, and displays the artwork
of artists such as Ramon Martins, Titi
Freak, Zezao, Carlos Dias, and Speto.
The visiting artists are residents of
São Paolo who have traveled to Los
Angeles to share their work, which will
be displayed until the end of March of
this year.

The Scion Gallery is located off of
Helms St., in the heart of Culver City,
an area that, in recent years, has put
forth significant efforts to reinvent itself
with an explosion of eateries, boutiques,
art, and music venues. According to
the official website, the Scion Gallery
is dedicated to "fostering independent
expression and hosts art shows and artrelated
events for cutting-edge urban
artists from across the globe."

Indeed, the exhibit is a breathing
collection of art that seems to have
been scraped off the streets of São
Paolo, Brazil.

One such example, the work of
Ramon Martis, seems to reach out
and grab the viewer of his canvases,
commanding attention through a
compelling combination of vibrant
colors and bold lines. Many of his
works use spray paint and are applied
with needles conventionally used to
imprint ink tattoos into the skin of human
subjects. Surprisingly, he first explored
this technique when given a hospital
needle. Since then, Martis has exploited
needles in his artwork and comments on
their ability to create fine strokes that
allow him to "humanize drawings with
the thinnest lines."

Along with his unique choice
of tools, Martis is known to "mix
media at the maximum level." He
incorporates material he comes across
in his daily life such as plastic grocery
bags and toothpicks into his artwork.
These are only two examples of his unconventionality, which he
explains between his exclamations in

Martis explains his three pieces
displayed in this exhibition are his first
explorations of the African culture in
Brazil. He, like many of the artists, is
inspired by multiculturalism, an idea
and reality that is often associated with
the diverse culture of Brazil. Martis
adds that he "likes everything that
feels foreign" to him. Through his art,
the multi-media artist hopes to explore
the diversity of São Paolo and generate
questions within his audiences.

With a name like Titi Freak one
might expect to be disappointed, but
surprisingly, this artist lives up to his
unique name. Titi, an artist that seemed
to be swarmed by fans for the majority
of the opening night reception, explores
the topic of fusion and multiculturalism
along with Martis.

As mentioned, many of the works
in the exhibit have been influenced
by graffiti art. Titi, in addition to this
influence, has been creating comics
since the age of 13. His background
in illustration shines through with a
stimulating mix of graffiti on a large
size canvas that sits proudly in the
center of the exhibit. After speaking
with transplants from Brazil and those
who have visited, it seems that Titi's
signature work can be seen on many of
the buildings and streets of São Paolo.

Titi's mixed heritage consisting of a
Brazilian father and a Japanese mother
is only one example of the diversity of
Brazil. São Paolo is a city that holds
the largest population of individuals of
Japanese descent outside of Japan. The
mixed artist explains Japanese fashion,
youth culture, comics and anime have
influenced his work significantly.

It is no surprise that along with many
of the artists showcased, he is deeply
influenced by the ethnic and racial
diversity that constitutes this exhibit
and the city that is represented.

Speto, a third artist displayed in the
exhibit, has inspired both Martis and Titi,
along with many others. He is seen as a
pioneer in graffiti art, which he explains
was considered underground until the
last ten years. Since then he explains
graffiti art has gradually exploded into
Brazilian mainstream culture and has
found its place not only on the streets
but also in museums such as the Museum
of Contemporary Art São Paolo.

The fusion of seemingly different
styles and the acceptance of urban
culture into the art world are explored
throughout the exhibit. Speto explains
that Brazilian artists mix and match
styles and create with "feeling, intuition,
and improvisation." He adds, "This is
very São Paolo. This idea is very natural
- to not be too serious about life and art.
It is an expression. It is my expression
of my friends, roots, and culture."

He explains that art to him is "a
privilege to share with every kind of
people. It is an opportunity to share
something with everyone. Poor. Rich.
Black. White. Women. Men." In
other words, art is a medium for these
artists to share their emotions, art, and
culture with people of all walks of life,
regardless of their background. He adds
that the art of São Paolo is "the result
of many cultures - African, Japanese,
Spanish, American, Brazilian. We try
to bring all of them together, into one

Indeed, this exhibition is a fusion of
diversity and modernity and holds the
ability to transport one to the heart racing
streets of a culture so compelling they
seem to speak through the canvases and
tease the senses. The language of art is
open to all, and this experience makes
learning the language a pleasurable

For an opportunity to step out of
the monotonous noise of the familiar,
check out this month's exhibition on a
city that is open to everyone, something
that our society often forgets and is
in need of reminding ourselves of. It
would be a great shame for these works
to sit unnoticed by our community. Los
Angeles is a diverse city, with countless
talented visitors. This exhibition is
only one of the many opportunities to
take advantage of all that our city has
to offer.

If anything, the exhibit can serve as
a mini vacation for those itching for a
change but are restricted by the weight
of their wallets. Although the rapture of
São Paolo most likely can be understood
only by those who have visited, we
have the unique privilege of catching a
glimpse of the energy and talent that is
exploding in a city that seems to have
a voice that is colored with vitality and

The São Paolo exhibit will run until
March 28 at the Scion Installation L.A.
3521 Helms Ave. Wednesday - Saturday,
11 a.m. to 6 p.m.