Pantónio, 1974, is natural from Azores islands, Atlantic Portugal.
Hi Pantónio! Some of your work is on an absolutely massive scale, how did work towards this point?
I work by agglomeration of individuals on a composition, so I have to understand that composition on space. Then it’s trying to create interactions between those individuals to unify them as a group, taking attention to the empty spaces that allow their movements. When on a wall I try to keep it at a very basic level, accepting the physical hardness of the work with joy and drawing each of those animals as if I knew them, like this one is someone I know or that one is the man I saw passing through the other day on the street.
A lot of you work uses animals as subject, often in herds or groups. Have you always been inspired by nature and animals?
I have a kind of phobia for groups of persons, I don’t like to be part of them. I like to see animals, I believe and understand their communication better than humans and their movements are more pure at communication, so I prefer to draw animals. I use animals to tell some human stories, often they are taking their spaces or acting like humans. Animals are just a way to show a part of a story.
There is a real fluidity and dynamic to your work, how did this style develop?
From the confusion: my process of getting an idea is sketching over and over it, my sketches get over saturated. From this confusion I try to simplify, unifying lines, andI suppose from this process my natural influences of an islander and the movement of the sea jump out.
“I often go on walks at night to look at some walls and see some herbs growing on it, climbing the walls, and I would like to imagine that I could do a work like this, so immersed and complementary with the straight lines that men create.”
You work with a wide variety of buildings, from wall murals, to bridges and derelict structures, how do you approach each space?
The street spaces already have the drawing solution on it, I just have to sit there for a while and feel it. I try to work and maintain a clear vision of an alive space, feeling what kind of movement passes there, and imagining a story that gives the impetus to go and paint. I am conscious of my limitations as a painter, and as a person to believe in just one idea, so I prefer to work with the space itself.
In a way your subject matter is in contrast to the concrete structures that you paint on, would you say this is part of the intention of the work?
I often go on walks at night to look at some walls and see some herbs growing on it, climbing the walls, and I would like to imagine that I could do a work like this, so immersed and complementary with the straight lines that men create. I would say yes, I have this intention of contrast and complementarity.
“That they take the same that I take when I am at the sea shore; that they take a breath.”
Much of your colour pallet is black with blue and green, what do these colours do for you?
Until now I see my work as drawing, and I don’t consider that I really use colour. I construct a shape and I draw on it the light. I use the blue as a non-colour, it’s just the light and the one that I am comfortable with to create the volume. Also those are the colours that I have grown up around, with the blue of sky and sea breaking on white against the strong volcanic black rocks. Also, before, on my illustration work I used a lot of colours, almost by imposition as a way for people to like it and I probably got saturated by it.
What do you hope a person on the street walking past your work takes away from it?
That they take the same that I take when I am at the sea shore; that they take a breath.
Is there one place or building in the world that you would love to paint on?
I would like to go back to China to paint… A submarine would be nice too.