Showcase: Rafael Jordão Trabasso

Tell me a little bit about yourself. Who are you & What do you do?

My name is Rafael Jordão Trabasso from Brazil, 28 years old. I’m a visual artist, writer, tattoo artist, web designer. I love biking, Yoga, music, nature and being visited by friends. I like visiting people too.

What is your typical daily work routine?

I don’t have a daily work routine, but there are two things I try to do everyday: drawing and Yoga. Work depends on the projects I’m working: some days I make tattoos, the other day I have to work on a website or illustration… it depends. But I feel I could benefit on having a daily routine, as some days I find it really hard to concentrate on a single task. I had two fixed jobs but I could not handle going everyday to the same place. Since then I’m on my own and I’m trying to find balance. But it’s been 3 years now and I still have not found it.

What do you do in your spare time?

When i got spare time AND spare money I usually travel to the beach or to the mountains. When money is short I’m usually creating something, reading books or riding my bike trying to discover new places nearby.

What triggers your creative spark and how do you see it through?

Mostly, contact with nature and Yoga/meditation practices. Dreams, too. I have a strong tie with the unconscious and dream worlds; Inspiration usually comes as a inner feeling, like a spark as you said, and when it comes strong I have to stop everything and start creating. I usually don’t make studies or sketches, I start to draw or paint directly with ink and let go. About 99% of my artworks are done this way. The best works are when I’m relaxed and not worried about the outcome.

What tools and mediums do you use?

Ink, markers, colored pencils, paint. On the computer I use Adobe Fireworks a lot to create my pixel creatures. I’m more into traditional artworks than digital. When I write, it’s all on pen-and-paper before it goes to the computer – it makes a huge difference.

What one piece of your work best represents you?

The satyr is a powerful image to me. The human being walks in 2 distinct but connected dimensions, the human-rational (upper body half) and the spiritual world of nature, dreams and the unconscious (lower body half). Finding balance in this connection brings great energy – Nietzsche wrote a lot about this. This is a question of utter importance to me and I think this drawing shows some of this.


Who and/or What inspires you?

Above all, nature, because in nature there is no symmetry, no desire for glory, no judgement, there is only life. Everything a human being should known can be achieved by observing nature and nothing else, but it’s a hard task. But there are also people who inspire me, lots of them, but in a creative sense I can name few. Musicians: Sun Ra and Jorge Ben (both tapped on mystic, spiritual energy to create, and you can feel it); writers Franz Kafka and Dostoievski (both put a magnifying lens on some human struggles)… artists Robert Crumb, Keith Haring, Picasso and much more. Oh, old games and pixels too, I was a computer freak as a child. 🙂

What has been you most enjoyable piece of work to date?

I recently discovered that I love working with tattoos. I specially enjoy it because it gets me close to people. People want to mark something on their skin: tattoos are the scars we choose to have. It’s a delicate process. It delights me to talk to people and to create those marks for them, because this process transforms myself as well, some of that person’s energy flows through me, energy is flowing between us. Usually when a tattoo session finishes, both me and my client are in a elevated state of spirit, and I didn’t know about this before I started tattooing, which was a grateful surprise. Yeah I’m really enjoying tattoos.

What/Who would be your ultimate client or dream job?

There is one spiritual law that says: the person who comes is the right person. Nobody comes into your life without a reason. I am already living in the “dream moment” of my life – life is a single moment but we are iluded because the Sun goes down everyday and we fragment time. I still have to find balance and stability in lots of things, and I would like to become an art teacher too, but that does not shift my spirit and mind to the future. So my ultimate clients are the people that come here to have a tattoo or a website or a painting created by me, my dream job is what I am doing now, even if I am far from financial stability and other things that I can (and want to) achieve in this world. Obviously, I feel sad sometimes because of mundane problems, but even sadness is a state of spirit that we should not fight, as it brings moments of reflection and energy for new attitudes.

If there is one piece of advice you could give to aspiring creatives, what would it be?

Don’t ever compare yourself to others. It’s useless, even if you’re on the “best” side, like “I can draw better than that!” – it will take you nowhere. You should enjoy what you do – search for a way of doing things that makes you feel good, even if it looks strange, even if it means going back to drawing stick figures. And, if possible: don’t bother about money.