Ana Camilo was born 1989, in Lisbon.
She has a degree in Conservation and Restoration by the Polytechnic Institute of Tomar and Master in Museology and Museography by the Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Lisbon.
Ana has participated in exhibitions since 1998: about one hundred collective and a dozen of individual exhibitions were held in Portugal and in Belgium, Brazil, the United States, France, and Italy. Some of the works exhibited won awarded prizes. Represented in private collections in Portugal and abroad.
The main exhibitions were:
– Individuals – Entre Paragens, Casa Manuel Espregueira e Oliveira (2018); RED me between the lines, BAAG, Lisbon (2018); Miragens, ISCTE Library, Lisbon (2017);
– Collective / Biennial: Doze d’Arte – Miguel Bombarda, Days Are Gallery, Porto; Convergences – BAAG, Lisbon (2018); Arte Nostra Damus 17, Viseu and Amadora (2017); ARTE URBANA in MUPIS – AMIarte, Lisboa (2017); Damned, Detroit, USA (2015); Biennials of Paço de Arcos (2010), Avante (2017) and Vidigueira (2018, 2016, 2012, 2010) and Carcavelos (2012); Infante D. Luis to the Arts Award (2018) – honorable mention.
Cover illustration of books and labels for wines (limited editions). Participation in anthologies of artists and in a Portuguese program in channel RTP2.
Hi Ana! What inspired you to pursue art? What was your introduction to the art world?
Ana: Hi Lisa! First of all, I would like to thank you for inviting me to this interview. I have always loved art and craft-related subjects. One of the first triggering moments happened when I was around 4 to 5 years old and saw a pleinair painter working very close to the place where I lived. I would visit him regularly, stay there and just enjoy myself while watching him at work. It fascinated me how he was able to reproduce the landscape on canvas.
From a young age, I’ve learned several craft techniques but with a special focus on embroidery.
I started watercolor painting when I was 8, and very shortly after I began showing my artwork at several collective exhibitions; actually pretty much non-stop since then. And so it happened that from a younger age until today, I could never imagine myself doing anything but an artwork.
Tell us about your artwork, medium, style, subject matter, etc.
Ana: By drawing and painting with ink, acrylic, and oil, and using paper as my support medium, I portrait what I observe around me, capturing brief moments, looks … moments are frozen in time. A pause. The need to stop, to breathe, to start again … it’s a constant metamorphosis.
Among the works I have presented so far, some are inspired by my travel journal which I use to record moments, environments, and situations, in the hope of awakening the observer to various physical and emotional realities. In this first draft, which usually looks more abrupt, I paint with ink, whereas the remaining scenes I like to paint with oil, unrolled. Contrasting the monochromatic register with the chromatic, I enjoy emphasizing the duality between dreams and reality.
There are paths that grow within us, stories that have happened, and thoughts whose roughness imply an atonement. On the other hand, in the plastic arts, we can be less revealing; in between the lines we can write the small dislikes and antipathies that help us expel any feeling of pain or anger from within. Only a few people will know the true or whole story behind any artwork, yet, some will be able to either imagine or Identity themselves with it.
What is unique about your technique? What’s the most challenging part of your artistic process? And how do you overcome it?
Ana: The uniqueness of my technique lies in the usage of pure black INK color which then contrasts with detailed object painting with OIL colors. I love the contrast between the rough black and the vibrant colors. I also like to play with the distortion and simplification of the landscapes, where the rougher ink part and the more delicate and realistic details come together. When my work is more about recalling memories, I often paint these details as if they were photography directly taped into the image.
More recently I started to experiment with the cyanotype technique, one that I have also been applying for these little details in my artwork.
One of the most challenging parts of this type of work consists of primarily preventing simplified landscapes from becoming abstract and meaningless black blurs. Secondly, all the colored elements must be in harmony with one another in order to form a nice composition in the end. I manage to overcome this by doing lots of composition studies beforehand. I do them until I am satisfied with the overall result. Once I’ve found the ideal color combinations, I draw a small-scale and simplified draft into my sketchbook, and only after that do I eventually start with the real and final artwork, including all the adjustments needed in order to achieve coherence, harmony, and smoothness in its final composition.
You say your artworks are a part of a travel journal. Describe a real-life situation that Insider your art.
Ana: I derive my inspiration not only from the places I visit but also from human behavior that I somehow like to portrait. Subtle memories and descriptions of everyday life. One of the things I often like to portrait is the abandoned or less populated places. To me, traveling is the best inspiration, for it allows me to understand people and places, as well as their thoughts, habits, and concerns.
My journey as a mural painting conservator and my experience in working in rural places really inspired me to do this kind of work. For quite some years I have been collecting memories and sketches which I then used for getting started and for experimenting with ink drawing. These places and their people teach me how to calm my mind and reflect on silence and isolation in a clearer way.
And this of course goes hand in hand with the study of human behavior and the way I like to integrate it into my work. I like to portrait and reveal the full scope of facets and the complexity that characterizes the human being.
Tell me more about your “Just wanna say that” series. What’s the story behind it?
Ana: As mentioned before, it is the study of symbols and meanings as well as the comparison between them that fascinates me. In this series I focus a lot on silence, i.e. on the contrast between the goodness in silence, which allows us to connect with nature and with each other in a deeper sense, on the one hand; and on the danger of silence when it arises from isolation, on the other. It also represents those moments where we wish we could mute the world around us for just one minute to find some peace of mind. The landscape with the lonely tree leads us to a peaceful place, a silence that calms us down. The mute symbol, on the other hand, represents that wish of muting some troubles around us.„ Just wanna say that “ is a mute scream wishing for silence, peace, and calmness.
What are you currently working on?
Ana: I am working on a new series, called “Hidden” which I will exhibit soon: it highlights the duality between action and words. It will be a work with a darker or heavier tone to it, for it will mostly feature lost landscapes as well as themes related to the complexity and power of the words.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
Ana: I believe artists should have an active voice in society. Through visual language, I reflect on time and places, isolation, domestic violence, and the importance of words and actions.
Do you believe talent is something zerteil people have a natural leaning to or is it something that has to be cultivated over many years?
Ana: I believe talent is a full-time job (laugh). Maybe it is natural learning that some people have, nonetheless it is something that needs to be used and to be worked on. Practice, observation, perseverance, and self-discipline are needed to evolve both technically and creatively.
Talent is a journey, a resilience mode, a constant doubt that on some occasions we are called to ignore, and on others, to reflect upon.
I believe that the more we see and do the better we become as artists.
What memorable responses have you had to your work?
Ana: To me, it feels very special when people see their life experiences reflected in my paintings and when they share their thoughts with me. It just happens that sometimes we either share common, similar or just totally opposite experiences. I am very grateful for every time someone wants to talk to me and feels comfortable enough to tell me about their life; it really creates an amazing connection. And that kind of feeling is always the most memorable and rewarding response I can ever get.
Are there any upcoming shows or workshops we should know about?
Ana: Due to the current pandemic all shows have been postponed; new dates are still waiting to be defined. But I can tell you for sure that there will be two individual exhibitions, one in Estremoz and the other in Lisbon (both in Portugal) that are scheduled for the end of this year.
What’s next on the horizon?
Ana: Keep working and developing the techniques, doing bigger formats. I really love to explore the visual language and simplify the best I can without getting lost on the abstract path.
I think my work is an ongoing and never-ending project. There is still a lot I want and have to learn, both technically and artistically. I take great joy in walking this path of constant doubt and knowledge.
Anything you can tell our audience that you have not said before?
Ana: I would like to invite everyone to see my work and share your opinion with me. I believe art should promote dialogue between people.
To learn more about Ana and her art, please check: