Vasco Mourao: Unfolded

Released Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Unfolded, by Vasco Mourao.
15% of the gross sale of this print goes to Médecins Sans Frontières.

Vasco Mourao is a Portuguese illustrator and architect based in Barcelona, Spain. He splits his time working between these two disciplines. Being an architect can be all consuming, but these days, Vasco is trying to give more time and attention to his illustrations – finishing up a children's book, looking for representation, and organizing exhibitions.

About the print:
Curator's note: This is truly an instance where images do not do the artwork justice. Unfolded is an incredibly detailed drawing; it is almost obsessive. You can literally spend hours studying all of the different shapes, patterns and ornaments and still discover new elements every time you look at it. This is our dimensionally largest edition yet - 13" tall by 38" wide. Anything smaller than 38" wide would just not do the artwork justice. We've included several close ups to give an idea of the level of detail in the drawing. Enjoy!

This piece was originally commissioned as an 11.5' by 33' mural for a bar in Porto, Portugal. The mural was partially based on the city of Porto, becoming an unfolded city with different elements of Porto, always drawn with the same horizon line as the reference. As the drawing progressed, it came to be about other things: changes of perspective, interlocking volumes and the details of doors and windows...The original drawing took about six weeks to produce - two weeks to sketch through the layout and four to produce the final image.

This is an archival ink giclee print on acid-free Avorio Biblos paper.


What was the process behind this piece?
My process drawings are actually very cryptic and not worth showing, because they mean nothing to anyone but me. They are just doodles, but I spend a lot of time on them to make sure that when I sit and start to draw the final illustration, I have a very clear idea of the main concept. This process provides me with a large but strong framework that I can work within and still be surprised by the final outcome.

How does being an architect inform your artwork?
It is because of my education as an architect that I got into the habit of drawing, or to say it better, of thinking with a pen. My drawings began as a process of thinking about architecture through drawing. I continued to develop my technique through boring subway commutes and meetings, which further enabled me to discover this kind of expression and technique of drawing these constructions by accumulation.

What has inspired you recently?
The works of HelloVon, Ian Wright, Sam Winston and Cedric Price.

Why did you choose to pair Médecins Sans Frontières with your print?
They save lives.

If you could pick one artist to mentor you, who would it be?
Giovanni Battista Piranesi, because of his amazing control of space and narrative. Each time I look at one of the Le Carceri d'Invenzione drawings, I can imagine a million different things happening in there. And of course, their details are no less then spectacular...

Who are some artists you think people should know about?
Pedro Kastro is a great one.

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