Some people are really talented and they have the chance to draw for a living. Well, it’s not chance, but a good job let’s say. That’s the case of Ciro Bicudo, a graphic artist living in São Paulo, Brazil.
Wait. What? Graphic artist? What’s that?
Well, he is an artist. He draws and he paints with a passion for the surf culture mixed with a bit of everything like music and skateboarding. He named himself Organik for some simple reasons, as he told me, ‘’Organik was a nickname that I created during a phase in my life. I remember that time. I was involved in the street culture, stickers, tags on the street, stencil and I loved to walk around late at night bombing the city’’. He is also founder of the FOLK Ink Label with his brother. Working early in the morning until late at night, Ciro is driven by a passion for his art and he’s ready to do anything to push his art further and further. Travel with him during that interview, giving us some of his best souvenirs.
Tell us more about yourself, where did you grow up and when / how did you get involved with surfing? I grew up in the countryside of the state of São Paulo. We moved to a city called Piracicaba when I was a child, but my grandmother was an Italian immigrant who came to Brazil during the Second World War. In Brazil, she moved to a fishing village called Peruibe. My childhood was then divided between these two places. We lived in the city during the week and in Peruibe almost every weekend. These places are so important to my formation.
My mother always remembered that I had a big connection to the ocean and since I was a little baby, I loved to stay in the sea. Some of my oldest drawings are about the Ocean, Fishes, Fishing Boat and Surfers.
Piracicaba was an important city in the 90s on the independent scene, a lot of indie artists, bands and a powerful skateboard scene. I grew up drinking of this culture.
Peruibe is a village. It has cool waves and it was a free space for a young guy with clean water, endless summer, some friends that surfed a lot and that drank of the same indie culture I drank at the time.
We always had some boards to play with at the beach. They were Styrofoam boards that many children has here, but I remember in my teenage years, I started to surf with a surfboard. This time was a crazy and powerful part of my life! Surf and skate feed me all the influences I have: friends, bands, arts, magazines and films.
Would you say that surfing had influence on your art?
A lot of influence because part of my influences came from surf people. Guys like Rick Griffin, Drew Brophy, Sean Spoto, Rietvelt, Thomas Campbell and Scott Aicher was presented to me by the surf culture. They were influence for the graphic of the brands, the surf culture and music bands.
There`s a feeling that I feel when I am in the ocean and I feel something similar when I am in a painting session. The feeling that I can do what I want: I feel free and full of energy.
What’s a graphic artist exactly?
Part of my work is to develop some commercial projects. I create art for some clients such as brands, magazines, breweries and any kind of support that can have a piece of my art. In these projects, I am doing everything handmade, it’s all unique and pure. Even with a briefing, I always try to work in a copyright form, producing things that fit my art.
Then, I have my art career, which makes me paint walls and develop some solo art shows. All this is a free part of my job, working on it day by day.
Where have you developed your skills? Did you learn everything by yourself or you went to school for it?
My mom was an interior designer in the late 70s and she always gave us the freedom to paint and drawn everywhere. I had an ‘’attention deficit disorder’’ and it was a problem when I was at school. I remember that painting or drawing was one of the things that made feel good, giving me peace and concentration. Since this day, art has been an escape for me.
I remember that I never felt good at school, all these rules and everyone that tells you what to do or how you should act to become someone. This teaching format was like castrating a free mind. I`m totally outside of this and my escape was art.
I learned a lot of things by myself, discovered materials and forms of production. Over time, I met many of my idols and has been able to learn things from them, which led me to my art today.
I heard you haven’t spent any days without drawing a little bit. Can you tell me how a day in the life of Ciro is?
Drawing all day, every day!
I wake up 6:30 / 7 am, drink my coffee and start the day. Every day, my first drawing is something free, no work, just something to keep my mind active in a free form of production like when I was young. After this process, I start to work on the commercial works and on my paints. If I stay in my studio, I am actually painting until 12 pm. Most of the day I stop late at night and go to the pub to drink beers with my friends.
Do you think it’s hard to become a full-time artist in Brazil? Are you full-time or you have another job on the side?
Yes, it’s difficult, but when you believe in a dream and care with love and dedication, you can turn off the difficulties. I`m a full-time artist, I live what I believe in, with the difficulties and the glories. I love what I do and what I create, it’s an important fuel for me. Always living the dream - I`m a Professional Dreamer.
You are constantly doing a collaboration with skate/surf brands and craft beer brands. Are they the one contacting us, and how are you doing to adapt yourself to every style?
Like music, surf, skate or beers, I just need to understand what I will do and let the feeling flow. What’s beautiful is when I am able to create a beer label with a little bit of surfing/street art and when I can create a surf graphics with a little bit of modern art and beer influence.
My art is a mix of everything I live with that I see and like. :)
I need to take a guess and believe you must be stoked to design craft beer (everyone loves beer)! Are you a beer lover and which beer do you consider the best?
There are three things that I always wanted to do: a skateboard deck, a cover album and a beer label. I am a beer lover and I usually drink beers that I love the label and the beer. My favorite beer is beers that I drink with my eyes first. I love:
-Brewdog Punk IPA
-Anchor Brewery Liberty Ale
-Mikkeller (all the label is made by my hero Keith Shore)
-Flying Dog Brewery (all the labels are made by Ralph Steadman)
What’s the process to do when a brand asks you to work for them? Do you need to do a research or they tell you everything you need to know in advance?
I usually have to do a briefing about the history with them, but I always have some paths that lead me to what the brand wants. The brands who talk to me are usually coming at me because they like my art style. I try to create something new, something I never did.
With the briefing, I structure the project, study the forms and the elements I will use. After this research process, I draw and paint all I have in mind for this project. The good part of my job is that everything I do is as a freelancer, I can work on projects that I really love and believe in.
Are you planning to make any exhibition featuring only your art in the future?
I will be part of a collective art show in Leeds, England, at the Tall Boys Beer Market. An art show about beer posters.
Also, me and my friend, the shaper Bernardo Sodré a.k.a Umbe, from Umbe Surfboards, work in a collaborative project where I am creating some patterns and they will be applied on some boards. We will present this project in an art show.
Afterwards, I am planning to do a solo show at the end of the year.
If you had to choose only five things, what can’t you live without?
Drawing / Barbecue / Beers / Vinyl / Waves
Do you have a specific place where you love to go and sit, just to get inspiration or to take a break from everything?
There`s a place in my grandmother`s city, at the beach that I used to go when I was younger. I always wonder how it would be when I would be older. It was a place where I dreamed and thought of many things. Whenever I can go for a few minutes to breathe and I remember because my heart beats. It is a fuel for my days…
Do you have any big projects for the upcoming year?
I`m working on some beer projects this year, and until the end of the year they will be launched.
During most of my time, I dedicate myself to a project I have with my brother, the FOLK INK LABEL, which is a brand that we have where we make some craft stuffs and numbered series of products. We are producing lots of new stuffs. My project is to never stop making art. :)