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Curated by: Fernando de La Rocque
03|29|17 - 04|29|17

The brutality Tomaz Viana's (Toz) work  lacked

by Fernando de La Rocque

It sounds funny to say Toz came out of his comfort zone, because thus far the whole foundation of his work comes from extreme uncomfortable situations, even physical discomfort. For at least 20 years the artist has been making graffiti. Spontaneous appropriation of urban spaces with ideas printed in paint, most of the time made at the crack of dawn and having as its major canvas the most difficult access areas. As complexity goes up, recognition also rises in the streets. Courage acknowledged in physical form. Visibility and dissemination are main factors. It takes equipment, and every artist who expresses themselves in the streets for their own will collect stories of uncomfortable situations. There is danger in the streets.

The experience, this adventure, these ninja skills, this urge to spread are all printed onto the characters painted on the walls, facades and other vertical locations. When seeing a Shimu on top of a tunnel access, we feel how bold the artist was: he had to climb a dangerous place at the crack of dawn. Danger of falling, danger of being caught by the police, danger of getting shocked, of taking a bullet – and this adrenaline feeds the artist – whoever passes by and sees it, understands the danger. Whoever follows it, connects it to all the other Shimus they've seen around town. The experience of the moment is imprinted on the object as the object remains where the experience took place. The story about the character created by the artist in his own mind is not made that clear by this reading of observing the multiplication of Shimus in town. But there is, in fact, a story. Toz created an arsenal of images and texts which are part of the world these characters inhabit with their peculiar behavior.

Toz starts painting canvases and these stories broaden, being brought to new scenarios and having the characters shown through other angles, and this made up world gains more form and color. Art and sculpture make these characters get even more alive. Each new step taken by the artist towards technical improvement also provides new data to the imagined universe.

Through social media, the artist gets to draw this stories together to the audience all the more. The body of work gets a platform for immediate universal access and, as in any feedback process, Toz finds himself encouraged to give full life to these characters by making them into animation and comics (spoiler). One day the artist is in his studio, certainly indignant by all the sludge the world sinks in, indignant by the mud in the city of Mariana, by the present scenario, and by all the generalized scamming going on and, in a moment of plain gestural surrender, he rubs plaster on huge and extremely colorful finished canvases picturing smiley Shimus and Ninas, balloons and colorful vases. He rubs the white, black or gray, muddy grey city dust colored plaster over the colorful world. It covers almost everything and, when it dries out, he stabs the canvas with a knife; steady blows from someone who has learned to control his own strength. A voracious blow would destroy the canvas – and this should come as no surprise. The blows reveal clues in the covered up layers. Rips of light. This gesture says more about Toz than it does about the characters. This Stroke (Risco) series has the concentrated heavy energy of the streets, the power of pollution, the sludge of time. As the artist himself states, “graffiti of the future”. The future of all graffiti and all cities is to be covered in dust, sand, mud and in all the mortal remains of everything that exists, so in a thousand years there's another crowd, using another language and new habits and symbols and, underneath all that, they find our symbols. Our worlds will forever be immersed in the Great World's sludge.

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