Interview with Monica Rizzolli

Date posted: January 25, 2012

 With Brazil succeeding all around the world, it seems that is the time for Brazilian artists to be in the spotlight of all art lovers… The visual artist, performer and illustrator Monica Rizzolli was born in the city of São Carlos (São Paulo), in an ideal environment to become an internationally renowned artist…

Monica Rizzolli

· How everything began, Monica?

Unlike most, when I was a child I never enjoyed drawing. I had cra
yon boxes and some inks and I used to enjoy keeping and observing them. It was not until the adolescence when I began to draw! I used to copy characters from comic books and really soon I felt the need to learn a little bit more…then I started a drawing course and after that, I did a xylography and lithography course. My grandfather had a letterpress company, that’s why engraving became an immediate passion, I identified myself with the process and I wanted to learn more and more, when I decided to study Fine Arts.

monica rizzolli

· When did you decide to dedicate yourself to the production of artworks fulltime? Had you ever imagined that this could happen to you?

I really committed myself to artistic production three years ago, but it was my goal since when I decided to be a visual artist in my adolescence. As in any profession you need investment, studies and time for an economic return.

Monica Rizzolli

Reviewing your designs full of excesses, compositions, colours…

· Do we find in them some indigenous cultural heritage?

 My first contact with pattern design was through indigenous graphics, I was studding body painting when I discovered a book published by Lux Vital about patter design, which was the beginning of an obsession. I bought some books about this subject and soon I started to insert these ideas in my drawings. Now a day, I study pattern design from a larger viewpoint, in different cultures and with different perspectives.

monica rizzolli

· The spot colours in your illustrations seem to be made by computer. How do you get this effect?

It needs patience, good inks and opaque pigments, preferably. In some cases, instead of brush I use roller to define colour areas with a sticky mask. There are some “tricks” to get a plane area with well-defined edge that facilitates the process.

monica rizzolli

· The easy way with which you describe magical places and situation fascinates us…How do you manage to create these sophisticated compositions?

I usually define a concept and the colours that I’m going to use in the composition. Then, I prepare the base of the ink with half-tone palette and I define the first image. Generally, his first image is a human figure, from which surrounding environment around will be born. Then I start adding random items on the canvas and each new element raises the next. Is a process of pasting images one over each other, till through the overload information the image becomes a coherent whole.

monica rizzolli

· We can see that colour is one of the major aspects in your work…Which one never lacks in Monica Rizzoli artworks?

When I begin a painting I do some colour research to define the palette colour that will define the design and I try to create a different and certain palette for each work. But sometimes, there are recurrent colours, like PBr 7 (raw number), which has been very important to me in recent times.

monica rizzolli

Let’s talk about more specific projects that we find particularly interesting…Even in the college you were the creator of theoretical-practical event called [In.CoRpo.Ro]…

· What did this event involve exactly? What importance it has had in your career as an artist?

[In.Corpo.Ro] was first presented in 2004 and it succeeded in bringing together five artists and two artists associations in a performances evening inside an art gallery.

The second edition was actually on the street, with three performances in the interior of Sao Paulo metro. In the third edition in 2005, in addition to the performances there were conferences and theoretical debates.

In 2006, Priscilla Davanzo and I organized a pdf magazine with articles that talked about the idea of the event and actually, that was the last thing that was done in [In.CoRpo.Ro]. At that time I also conducted performances and, in fact, was then when I started being interested in indigenous body paintings and in the different ways of understanding and representing the human body, what now a day is very important in my work.

monica rizzolli


After your university time, you worked on a project called “Fêmea” with which you surprise us with a number of different representations of the sexual act, where you explicitly depict intercourses and penetrations…

· How an artist from Sao Paulo gets to talk about this such a complex subject in her country?

Actually, sex is a complicated issue in Brazil, there are many divergent views on the matter, but no consensus. I prefer to understand sex as something inherent in our lives, as something common. Talk about sex becomes easy then, it’s like talking about ourselves, our needs, desires and complexes.

Monica Rizzolli

· Do you think the viewer is able to overcome the banality of the first moment and enjoy your artwork without prejudices or fear?

I would like to think so, although this not always happen.

Monica, we are going to close with some short questions…

·From where does the inspiration for your paintings arise?

 From work and daily research.

 · Which is the most Brazilian aspect of your work and which the least?

I don’t know what to answer in this question…

 · Which advice would you give to an artist who is just starting out now?

 I would say: be persistent, dedicated and curious!


Interview by Lara Costafreda, Carpaccio Magazine Collaborator. Some of her artworks were published in Carpaccio Magazine vol.5

Monica Rizzolli website




Lara Costafreda, 23-year-old fashion designer and illustrator born in Lleida and formed between Barcelona, London and Rio de Janeiro.
She has been working with internationally renowned designers and she is currently publishing her illustrations collaborating with art, fashion and design magazines.

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