No Risco do Traço

No Risco do Traço

Mateu Velasco


No Risco do Traço

Mateu Velasco was born in 1980, in New York, but has lived in Rio de Janeiro since his childhood. In 2003 he graduated from PUC-RIO in Industrial Design. He also took courses on engraving, illustration, experimental calligraphy and graphic computing. Mateu developed his own style as a mix of illustration and graffiti. His work can now be found on the walls and in the galleries of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Porto Alegre, Paris, Lisbon and the United States.

By reaching beyond formal and cultural limits and converting public space into aesthetic space, his work plays into a process of democratising art. Mateu’s art reveals a reality we don’t notice, activating our memory and sensibility through his critical and conceptual rhetoric.

Filled with references of an urban routine, his graffitis signify a pressing need to humanize the city. The tentacles, almost always present in Mateu’s work, capture the spectator and transport him/her to a world of overlays and graphic cutouts, all whilst playing with elements of contemporaneity. The result is an assemblage of fragments of memories that awaken our interest, affirming their ethereal nature. 

While graffiti goes through a phase of revitalisation and rejuvenation, artists like Mateu became a lot more experimental, with the use of different base materials and methods of approximation to the  public space. The cross between street art’s graphic language and the world of commercial publicity resulted in an enormous improvement in graphic design and in urban inspired fashion. This allowed an insertion of the graphic quality in Mateu’s style in many segments: printmaking, billboarding and window-sills, magazines and book editorials, etc. He developed projects for brands like Adriana Barra, Cantão, Clube Chocolate, Converse, Abril editor, Record publishing, Brazil Telecom, Rede Globo, W/Brasil, Claro, PUC-Rio amongst others.

Always allying artistic production to graphic design, in a way in which there is no limit between one technique and the other, Mateu reaffirms the nature of graffiti as a brand, a registration in the world.

Currently, Mateu works as an illustrator, visual artist and teacher of drawing and illustration in the schools São Vicente de Paulo and Escola Parque (both in Rio de Janeiro)  and in some studios at PUC-Rio.