art2act® | newsletter #18

Rani Assal

INTERVIEW

ABOUT THE ARTIST | ORIGINAL ARTWORKS

Brazilian figurative painter from São Paulo, based in Porto - Portugal.

Rani Assal is graduated at University of Fine Arts of São Paulo (Brazil) and pursuing a master's degree in Fine Arts at University of Porto (Portugal).

He was apprentice of the norwegian great master Odd Nerdrum in 2018.

His work is around painting, specifically figurative painting and drawing with references on the great masters of the past like Rembrandt, Caravaggio, Rubens.

Old Man With Hat - Rani Assal

Old Man With Hat - Rani Assal

€125.00

Technique: Pen and Ink on Paper.
Size: 18x24cm.
Frame included.
Donation: 7% of this artwork will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

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Rani Assal, how does a street artist from São Paulo, influenced by grafity and illustration, started creating amazing realistic paintings?

"That was no accident. My father is an artist too, so from an early age I had a classic reference mainly in drawing, as much as my father's work has a more contemporary root, his drawings have always moved towards something more classic. I still remember being amazed at the classic designs in the very famous book for the most classic artists, by Robert Beverly Hale, anatomy from the great masters. But back to the question, I have always been involved with illustration and street art. São Paulo is a city where street art is strong, as an example, we have the twins, who are a world reference and are from there. So it was always part of my world and I ended up inevitably seeing myself in this scenario. But after a few years I felt that it didn't fill me, it lacked more of my essence and I realized that my essence was in classical painting, which is what fascinates me and makes me try better each day as an artist."

Patricia - Rani Assal

Patricia - Rani Assal

€175.00

Technique: Oil on Canvas.
Size: 16x20cm.
Donation: 7% of this artwork will be donated to Grupo em Defesa da Criança Com Câncer.

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How did the "Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto" influenced you in the process?

"I confess that I came to the master's degree with a skeptical thought about the college, because unfortunately today, art colleges are more focused on a contemporary scene. Not that I am not part of this, but my work within a painting is very specific. In art colleges, unlike art academies, the process of experimentation is more valued, I respect it for sure, but it is not the way I believe and think about art. But at the same time, the college made me think more about my work and what I mean about art, which world I belong to. That made me break some of the preconceptions that were in my mind and made me more open to belonging to this world that we live in today."

Profile Man II - Rani Assal

Profile Man II - Rani Assal

€75.00

Technique: Engraving and Etching on Paper.
Size: 12x12cm
Year: 2020
Donation: 7% of this artwork will be donated to Iracambi.

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Arriving at Porto, what was your first impression related to the art scene in the city and in Portugal?

"Honestly, my expectations in relation to Porto were of a provincial city, even more, because I am used to the scene of São Paulo, a city that has more people than the whole country of Portugal. But it was a good surprise to arrive here and see the number of talented people with different styles and capacities, very qualified people and with different views than in Brazil. Another culture, another experience. But unfortunately within this classical view, few are able to carry out this work, but this is natural since Portugal does not have great world exponents when speaking of academic and classical painting."

In the art market, comparing Portugal and Brazil, what are the main differences you spotted so far? Is the typology of collector different?

"I think with the globalized world in which we live, the tendency is to be very similar. I guess what turns out to be different are the interests and tastes of the buyers, and sometimes caused by a certain trend. My work demands a certain type of public, usually collectors and art lovers. I will hardly reach the mainstream or anyone who wants a painting as a decoration in the new house. But what I really felt different was a greater appreciation and acceptance in general for this art considered more classic."

Do you feel a different art movement comparing Portugal and Brazil? If yes, can you explain it a bit further?

"Look, artistic thinking is certainly different. Especially at a time like now when Brazil is going through several complicated issues related to politics, racism, the fight over gender, and everything. First of all, I am in favor of this fight without a doubt, but I confess that a kind of activism within the art world bothers me. I think that it is possible for art to be political, to bring questions, but I feel that in Brazil everything was around that, all art became an activist, and only so to have value. I still think that art before subjectivity and discourse, it is aesthetic.Aesthetics (regardless of style) generates reflection and deeper looks and does not necessarily need to have some kind of political appeal. What I hear most is “art is political”, of course, art can be political and it is political in a certain way, but it is not only that and it need not be that. So I feel that the artist in Portugal has a more aesthetic aspect aligned with personal issues and a less political air. I think that's the biggest difference."

According to the portrait paintings you're been creating. Do people’s personalities appear in their physical likeness?

"Undoubtedly the people I portray are similar to reality, after all, I start from the model reference. But I think it's important to say that thinking is not and will never be a perfect copy of reality. Painting is abstract, thinking must be abstract, so when I paint I am making judgments about where to put more and where less. In line with these aesthetic judgments of representation, there is deeper thinking, about feeling, about body and soul. At my residence that I made with Norwegian painter Odd Nerdrum, we were drawing a model and Nerdum made a comment that made me change a whole thought. He said; "Rani, you draw in an impressive way, but you need to learn to look into people's souls, only after that you will be able to understand your drawing or painting". So that's how I'm thinking about each new painting or drawing."

Self Portrait as a Painter - Rani Assal

Self Portrait as a Painter - Rani Assal

€750.00

Technique: Oil on Canvas.
Size: 100x120cm.
Donation: 7% of this artwork will be donated to Doctors Without Borders.

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Is there a particular message you want to send people with your art?

"I don't paint in order to please or send someone a message. I believe that I and the vast majority of artists paint for themselves. Painting must be sincere, and being honest with yourself is one of the most difficult things to achieve. There is nothing worse than an artist painting for others and then being held hostage by his work. So the process of painting must be intimate, personal, and in a natural way it will touch the other, after all there are universal and metaphysical concepts that are part of our human existence."

You have made already a lot of murals and street art. According to those projects you have created among other artists, what's the best an artist can take from an art collaboration with other artists?

The exchange is always productive, it is good to be with people who motivate and teach you and push you to be better. Usually, in these collaborative situations, the artists are conditioned to the same working conditions, which makes you look more at how the other solves one or a certain situation, it is good to see the process of the other and get the best out of it, and of course, constructive criticism.

One of the NGO's you have chosen to help with the sale of your works is "Doctors Without Borders". Any final support message for them in this critical period we are living, and a call to action for people?

"I would like to say that the work they do is something that inspires. There is no ego or vanity, it is just an intrinsic need to help others in need, this is of an unprecedented magnitude and for a few. Thank you for having people like you. There is still hope in humanity."

One of the NGO's you have chosen to help with the sale of your works is "Doctors Without Borders". Any final support message for them in this critical period we are living, and a call to action for people?

"I would like to say that the work they do is something that inspires. There is no ego or vanity, it is just an intrinsic need to help others in need, this is of an unprecedented magnitude and for a few. Thank you for having people like you. There is still hope in humanity."

What do you think about the art2act® project? How do you think it can help the development of your artistic career?

"From the first moment I received your message, I was excited about the possibility that with my work I could be helping other people. This initiative they are taking is unique and extremely positive. The world has changed, and collective thinking must always be encouraged. Certainly, this partnership only benefits both sides."

FIND OUT THE ARTIST COLLECTION IN ART2ACT®

RANI ASSAL