Interview: Leandro Marcos
Luca Curci talks with Leandro Marcos during MIXING IDENTITIES, 3rd Appointment of CANVAS – London International Art Fair and LONDON CONTEMPORARY ART FAIR 2021 at THE LINE Contemporary Art Space.
Leandro de Sousa Marcos is a portuguese artist born and raise in Faro (1992). His artistic career began in 2012 when he attended the degree in Visual Arts at the University of Algarve. In 2015 he was invited to join the Collective Polychromy leaving in 2017 and joining the collective of 289 Associação Cultural until today. Since 2018, in addition to the artist’s work, he has been developing artistic projects, namely exhibitions in the role of curator, resulting from partnerships with IPDJ (Portuguese Institute of Sport and Youth), FNAC Portugal, University of Algarve, between others. He currently works and lives in Faro and has shown his work practically on national soil. The artist’s initial choice was for the pure forms, a conscious appropriation of a method which is also a way of thinking about art: the painting is the only surface painted, and the lines and colors suffice for what they are, forms, not what they can mean. There is no narrative or dramatic intent. There are traits that intersect and create patterns. A more ascetic art in which the artist distances himself from what he creates, through a continuous and repeated gesture, a work formally well resolved and, purposely, without a soul. After engaging in various projects that demanded of the artist a position, an exit from his place of comfort, his work moved in a more personal and intimate direction – transfiguring the gesture of the first works in a minimal movement, almost in a non-gesture, or using the screen as a diary in which he could express feelings and clarify issues that art has put to him along his journey making his work increasingly disciplinary.
Luca Curci – What’s your background? What is the experience that has influenced your work the most?
Leandro Marcos – I started by doing graffiti; I grew up in a semi-poor neighborhood in Faro, at a time when there wasn’t yet that technological boom that we witnessed at the beginning of the 21st century. Smartphones didn’t exist; computers were very contained and simple, video console games were very few and with fewer resources than now… So the children at my time had to go to the streets to play. Playing among other things with other children, I ended up making many friends. We were always on the streets, and there we saw a lot of graffitis or something similar, and it was through this, I ended up doing small things that we can say were something similar to graffiti. Within the group of kids, I was included in, I was the one with the biggest ability to draw or the one who thought better about the construction of the piece we wanted to make, so it was always up to me to be the “artist” on duty to paint the walls. It was around this time that I begin to build the path for myself that started to be clearer for me. And that is how I ended up graduating in visual arts. It’s also important to emphasize that I always had huge freedom and support from my parents to do what I always wanted.
LC – Which subject are you working on?
LM – I’m currently developing Project Room 2021 at 289 Associação Cultural and finishing another project called Dialogue in partnership with FNAC Portugal. I’m going to participate in MARMOTTO group exhibition in October. Is an exhibition, namely to promote the improvement of the marine environment by encouraging the sustainability of fisheries and other forms of use and minimizing the impacts of pollution, so I’m making some drawings, paintings and working on a sculpture.
LC – Do you use art to express something in particular? Is it your medium of expression?
LM – I use art to express myself more, to express things that I can’t express with the other senses I have. I remember being a child and always wanting to draw or say things through drawings. It’s like what all children go through at school, having to draw the family and their house, they are telling something, a story, the family, through drawing and I think that I have had that in me since I was a kid. I’ve been drawing my path and today I am where I am and I am who I am, so the reason I make art is to express myself, I like to show things, to do something that people like, identify with, that convey something, a feeling or a message. That’s it.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
LM – I never feel the job is done and that complicates the job a lot. First, because the piece after it’s done has to be exposed and that means more work, then when I finish a piece, I start thinking about what comes next, that is, it’s almost cyclical, the work never stops. It feels exhausting and sometimes it is, but mostly it’s super stimulating and exciting so it’s good!
LC – How is being an artist nowadays?
LM – Art is something that has mainly to do with taste, so that makes being an artist very difficult, especially nowadays, for several reasons… With the increase in world population, the ease with which we can access images, there is no global art system and what is said to exist is corrupt, there is practically no structure for all media and for all agents that are part of what art is and this makes the main protagonists of the art world, the artists, pass by many difficulties in art, not everyone has access to the same tools, not everyone has the same geographic or financial facilities, we don’t have a fixed salary, sometimes we have to pay to see our work displayed and I think that inadmissible. I graduated to be an artist and I almost have to pay to be able to work. It’s a very unfair position to be an artist. For example, I work in construction to get my accounts and make art. It’s hard, but there it is, it’s something I need to do, art or something artistic.
LC – What do you think about the concept of this festival? How did it inspire you?
LM – I’ve always wanted to show my work or something I’ve done outside Portugal, so I tried and I was very happy and excited when I saw what I was going to achieve, moreover in a collective exhibition with other international artists, contact with others the artistical relationship that you create is very important to me.
LC – Can you explain something about the artworks you have in our exhibition?
LM – The work I have been exhibiting is above all a landscape. I developed an artistic language, basically through a repetitive gesture and the use of color that gives rise to colorful patterns. So here, joining three patterns and some feeling of nostalgia, I created my Algarve landscape of the beach at the end of the afternoon, that feeling of a good day, the feeling of reaching the end of the day satisfied with the work done, the moment of relaxation, the freedom to watch the sunset at the beach with friends or with our love…At the time I made this piece, I had just left a relationship and so this image ends up too, carrying this feeling of nostalgia for a good time, a time well spent and so this name in a comical tone, Sex on the Beach, alluding to alcoholic drink and the literalness of the phrase.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
LM – I don’t know, you are an artistic platform and I found your content, what you present, what you offer, and think it is very interesting.
LC – Did you enjoy cooperating with us?
LM – Yes I liked it, you were always very responsible and kind to me and you are part of my journey and I am part of yours and I hope everything goes well so that this “partnership” never ends.