rat, self portrait, 2020
São Paulo, SP, 1996
Ivo Puiupo develops research focused on sequential narratives. His work dialogues with comics and intersections between photography, animation and sound. Puiupo is ¼ of the graphic productions collective Pepito Corp, ½ of the musical duo FUGA and ⅕ of the art collective and mentoring program BASA 2.
interview by Igor Furtado , published on 10/31/2021
Can you tell a little about your childhood and adolescence?
My childhood and adolescence were filled by a certain instability. I was born in Portugal to a mother from Paraíba and father from Manaus, but my earliest memories already had my father as a distant figure, living back in Manaus. I consider myself Brazilian because despite being born in Portugal, I never got Portuguese nationality. I stayed there with my mother until I was 8 years old, when we moved to Aracaju, where my brother was born a year later. I was a very introverted child and had a lot of difficulty interacting with other people. I remember feeling a very deep sadness that I only recently understood where it came from. We lived in a house far from the city, in the expansion zone. At that time I had a lot of contact with nature and remember lying in the backyard listening to the sound of the sea and looking at the sky, full of stars. When I was about 11 years old, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and we returned to Portugal. To this day I don't know if it was financial problems or to stay away from my brother's father, who was a violent and unstable person. I stayed there until I was 15 years old, when my mother died. From this last return, I have more bad memories than good ones. I couldn't make many friends and felt the school system was rigid and crude. I almost failed for absences several times. Back to Brazil, I lived first with my father, then my grandmother, my uncles and after my aunt in Aracaju, where I stayed until 18 years. I left the house after a fight triggered by my coming out of the closet as a lesbian. All this housing instability was accompanied by financial instability, but fortunately I was always accompanied by people who helped me. Despite not having finished the third year of high school, I got a certificate and came to São Paulo, which in my mind was the place where I would be able to work with art more easily.
How is your research and inspiration process?
I think art research can be anything from a movie you watch to a more abstract feel. A pamphlet on the street, a conversation with a friend. For me, whatever it is, I think before incorporating it into your work, you need some time to think about it. I don't like drawing right after seeing an exhibition, writing right after reading a book, first you have to let it settle, otherwise you just end up copying, it's shallow and futile.
self-portrait and bird watcher, yashica 12 120mm, 2021
When did you start your relationship with drawing and how is your routine working with comics?
I got in touch with comics for the first time when I came to live in Brazil as a child. First we went to my grandmother's house in Campina Grande, where a cousin also lived. He had some American manga and comics like Dr. Slump, Spawn, Dragon Ball. I remember getting hooked on reading and trying to copy the drawings. On my return to Portugal at the age of 13, I started attending zine fairs and self-publishing, my mother encouraged me a lot. Also, I was obsessed with Japanese comics, I read a lot of horror manga, like Suehiro Maruo, Hideshi Hino, Nekojiru, Junji Ito, Junko Mizuno, etc. I also enjoyed Katsuhiro Otomo, Moebius, Tayo Matsumoto, Angeli... I've always spent a lot of time on the internet, which, for better or worse, led me to know a lot and make friends. When I came to São Paulo in 2015, I started studying audiovisual at Senac Santo Amaro, which was very close to where I lived, but I eventually dropped out due to financial reasons and because the routine of working during the day and studying at night, added to the my untreated depression at the time were making me unable to get much out of there. After I dropped out of college I focused 100% on comics and animation and in the meantime I also learned to tattoo. I traveled a lot in Brazil, going to independent publication events. I was practically living off it until the pandemic broke out.
How does the process of creating a sequenced narrative work?
My process with narrative inside the comics always followed a more "spontaneous" path. I don't script or sketch, I draw everything straight away, one page at a time. Following this process, I end up doing things that I would never have imagined before, I think it takes me further than if I limited myself with a thousand plans. Over time I've learned that limitations can also allow interesting freedoms, but when I plan too much, I still feel stuck and squared.
When did you start shooting? Do you have a specific interest in analogue?
My father is a photographer and maybe because of emotional saturation of the subjects related to him, it took me a long time to admit that I'm interested in the practice. But this year, isolated in my room for two weeks, I became obsessed with Peter Hujar's work. So impulsively I bought a medium format camera and with the help of my friend Victor Galvão, started to explore it. I love the materiality of the analog and the processes between taking a picture and being able to see it. Not being able to imagine the result, the uncertainty, maybe everything will go wrong! For me this is the interesting part.
What are the positives and negatives of having such an interdisciplinary work?
Positive, things get contaminated and mix up, I can't spend too much time doing the same thing and enjoy the exercise of revisiting practices after a while, with a new perspective and influence of what else there is to learn elsewhere. Negative, it's hard to write about your own work, people get confused, can't say I'm a comic artist, can't say I'm a photographer either, or saying all these things and run the risk of sounding arrogant or scattered. Simply saying I'm an artist doesn't seem to answer the question most of the time. In the end, you have to go with context and accept that it's just a way of answering how you pay bills, but I don't feel the need to define my work that way.
Flavushh, yashica 12 120mm, 2021
Can you tell more about your side projects Pepito Corp, FUGA and BASA 2?
Pepito Corp. it's a seal that I, Flavushh, Adonis Pantazopoulos and Julia Balthazar have. It was initially created to make it easier to register for fairs and events, a symbol of our friendship and companionship, the name for the influence we exert on each other while we do symbiosis. We produced some zines together, but with the limitations of the pandemic, we ended up leaving these projects on standby, as self-publishing depends so much on fairs and collective events to make it worthwhile. Fuga is a band that I have together with Nolo, who already have a long history with music. I learn a lot from him and hope that next year we will release our first album. BASA 2 is a Mentoring and Articulation Study Group (hence the old name Gema, which we recently changed), mentored by Lucas Velloso. It is a very important and cherished space for exchange and dialogue during the pandemic. Being able to observe the production of each one being all in different places, gave me a direction in a period when things were a little loose. The group integrates; Ian Indiano, Nicholas Steinmetz, Ing Lee, Patricia Baik, Céu Isatto and myself. Comics as a field of experimentation mixed with studio production is what ends up uniting us as a group, and in January we're going to hold our first exhibition in SP.
What is your dream project?
I want to do a big comic, a photobook, and a more extensive series of paintings. Besides, I also want to sew some giant stuffed animals/soft sculpture.
self-portraits in illustration, 2020