Mysterious, with a Goth sex appeal, Lupe Vasconcelos’ look is reflected in her illustrations. To hear her tell it, she has an obsessive attention to detail; but when one looks at her work (like the illustration included with this interview) it is impossible to not notice the influence of the Decadent and Aesthetic movements within its dark beauty.
Although initially interested in becoming a veterinarian, Vasconcelos has been drawing since she was six years old and is developing a body of work that is at once familiar and avant-garde. She defines her style as “labored”. We define it as sublime.
When did you discover your passion for illustration?
Well, I think I could say that I started pretty early. At the age of 6 I was already drawing my own little illustrated books and comics. I’ve always been an obsessive drawer. But it wasn’t until I was in college that I realized I wanted to work with illustration. Until then, I wanted to be a vet.
Besides illustration, what other media do you employ?
I also like to do engraving and sometimes needle felting, just for fun. I’ve also been painting with oil and acrylics, which is something I haven’t done since college.
What/who inspired you to use mostly black in your illustration pieces?
I’ve always preferred working with black, even when I was younger. I was very influenced at first by alternative comics, which came mostly in b&w. More recently, I would say that Aubrey Beardsley was the artist that made me want to push myself more into that direction, and after him, I discovered other artists of the same kind, like Harry Clarke and Alastair.
Lily Gatins illustration by Lupe Vasconcelos
How would you describe your illustration style? ?
Hmm… That is a hard one! I would describe my style as labored, as I tend to be obsessive about detailing (sometimes too obsessive!)
5) What is fashion for you? Who are your favorite designers and artist in general?
Fashion for me is a manner of exteriorizing your personality through appearance. It’s a way of showing who you are before saying a word, like an extension of oneself. I really like the designs of Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano and above all, Alexander McQueen. They have such personality!
My favorite artist is always changing, although there are a couple of them that are always on the top of my list. Right now, I would say that my biggest obsession is British artist Austin Osman Spare. He was an incredibly talented draughtsman, and sadly never received the praise he deserved.
It is a beautiful land, with an immense variety of people and cultural expressions. I found my ‘gang’ amongst
the punk/hardcore scene in my hometown, and those are still my favorite people to hang out with. Most people
don’t know, but there’s a strong dark scene (in music, fashion, and art) in Brazil. Many of us don’t feel
represented by that image of colorfulness and nakedness we’re so used to seeing in the international media.
I live in a small mountain town near Rio de Janeiro called Teresópolis, with a gorgeous landscape and many
breweries and some great restaurants. Beer, wine, and of course some cachaça, are essential! My favorite spot is
a restaurant that specializes in country food.It reminds me of home.
Since the town is basically inside of a forest reservation, there are also some great natural spots here, like parks and waterfalls.My favorite thing to do is to take a walk on the cobblestone streets, and look at nature and old abandoned houses
It helps me to de-stress but it also serves as inspiration for me to create my drawings.