Nuno Saraiva

Nuno Saraiva

“The humor that makes us reflect seriously or even brings the ability to make us change a political opinion that we thought was unshakable.
It is this encounter, the fragility with the unshakable, that attracts me in drawing (and writing) humor.”

Nuno Saraiva is a name that no longer needs an introduction, but even so, we want to know: do we introduce you as a cartoonist, illustrator or artist?

I never thought much about it. I would say that to “cartoonist” I would add “political”, to “artist” add “visual” or “graphic”, I also make comics, which is where I come from. What best defines me will be the word “illustrator”, it really brings together in meaning everything I do. Even in wall paintings I am the illustrator.

 

João Paulo Cotrim said about Nuno: “you take too seriously the not being too serious”, is that something completely natural for you? With others, with work and with yourself?

Perhaps, in an intimate conversation somewhere on a long night, I would say with my eyes on the bottom of an empty glass, that I can’t stand egocentric people, that those who spend hours of their time polishing themselves in a kind of continuous masturbation irritate me. about your audience. You see a lot of that in these areas of the visual arts and there’s no patience. The small and colorful corner of Portuguese illustration will not be an exception. I don’t see myself in vanity and I feel some discomfort in the media exposure as a rule. What is completely natural for me is optimism and good mood, I’m not angry with the world and I only very rarely make this type of innuendo and always about the bottom of an empty glass. What I really take seriously is the final purpose of all my works, the humour, the meaning that I intend to offer, even if ambiguous, even if dramatic. And friends, friends I take them very seriously, they are peers of my work. João Paulo Cotrim, my dear fat friend, knew me very well when he wrote these lines.

 

This posture should make it much easier to work with people who are not exactly in your tune.

Those who know me know that relaxation will come from here, in fact too much relaxation – from the preliminaries of the idea to the critical political content, to the subliminal messages always present in my work, to the deadlines that I push to the limit of the bearable (laughs). I just don’t make it easy on one thing, derailing from the rhythm used by some of my colleagues: I refuse to present sketches. Due to my calendar always bursting at the seams, I got used to not wasting time on preparatory drawings, I never outlined alternatives or solutions B or C. Until now I’ve always done well, but if the client refuses the work I send finished – and it’s already happened – I just have to do it again or refuse. I don’t remember ever slamming the door.

REGRESSO DE D.PEDRO, A SALVAÇÃO DO BRASIL.
Inimigo Público, Série II.
Jornal Expresso, June 2022.

Your characters are fascinating. Well-natured, humorous, and sarcastic. Do you consider that your art meets what was done, for example, by Gil Vicente? Ridendo Castigat Mores, the Latin saying for “correcting manners through laugh”.

As opposed to the easy joke designed to exercise the muscles in your face, to laugh until you lose your breath, I appreciate much more that kind of humor that disarms us, strips our souls and throws us to the ground with a punch in the stomach. And then it lifts us up, but we still look for a line or point of reference to balance us, such is the disorientation caused by the shock. More: that hours later we are still thinking about it. Thinking. The humor that makes us reflect seriously or even brings the ability to make us change a political opinion that we thought was unshakable. It is this encounter, the fragility with the unshakable, that attracts me in drawing (and writing) humor.

“Canção de Lisboa”, trophy for the Especialidade category, Marchas de Lisboa, 2018.

Is there any social-political situation that you especially like to caricature?

In front of a sick Cavaco or a disconcerting Sócrates, I elect the People of this country. The people in their inertia, who don’t manifest themselves, who throw the state of things behind the State’s back. Raphael Bordalo Pinheiro spent his life satirizing the rotten elements of the agony of the constitutional monarchy, kings D. Luís and D. Carlos, the Church, the military, the loan sharks, the politicians, especially the ministers, and above all Fontes Pereira de Melo. Does anyone today remember to associate Bordalo with these figures that made him draw so much ink? No. Bordalo will always remain intimately connected to his anti-hero Zé Povinho, an always unpleasant representation of his contemporary Portuguese people, bowed down, submissive, and little inclined to revolt, or at best to revolt in a small, quiet way, expressed in a fist (this gesture in some cultures, including the Portuguese culture, has the same meaning has a middle finger).

 

Have you ever turned down jobs that went against your social beliefs and ethical values?

Yes, but respecting those same ethical values, I don’t want to reveal here who or which ones. Because they were people or companies who came to me but for some reason did not understand that I was not in the same line of thought, or who simply thought that a designer should be impartial, apolitical and accept whatever is asked of him. This kind of acephalous treatment still happens regularly with other colleagues of mine – namely in advertising agencies.

Santo António e o Mundo, trophy for the Especialidade category, Marchas de Lisboa, 2019.

In 2018, in an interview you gave to Diário de Notícias newspaper (23 September 2018) you mentioned intolerance, about being accused of discrimination when it comes to caricatures. Besides being asked to reduce the cleavage on your characters, have you ever made racial or gendered requests? All of this, has it ever caused you to limit your creativity due to society’s standards?

The political correctness card is alienating today’s society. We witness episodes that end up being counterproductive, like making black people Caucasian or attacking white people for daring to have dreadlocks – aren’t these reactions proto-racist? In my work, which I like to think of as evolving as opposed to regressing, before thinking of the objective (the reader), I think of the people who ask me for this work. Faced with the danger of a possible timely reaction that could lead to a lawsuit and threaten jobs, I think ahead and limit the speed of the thing myself. But when the editing does not depend on third parties, as happened during the publication of my Diário de Uma Quarentena em Risco (Diary of a Quarantine at Risk), political cartoons that I aim to do every day for a year (March 2020 to March 2021)… then I break the whole thing.

 

You are a teacher in an art school, and adding the workshops, teaching occupies a large part of your life. Have you always felt a calling for this? Or was it something that came later into your life?

I realized the passion for teaching from the very first class, I was still in my twenties and had students older than me. Today the age distance is inversely greater. More than teaching, I go for sharing and mutual learning. As I get older, I feel that I am losing notions of realities that pass by us but that we don’t live with. A generation gap that in the lack of translation we don’t understand, in the dialectics, in the customs, in its codes. Teaching 18, 20, 25 year olds helps me to better understand this present.

Composition planning for the comic strip:
“HOJE TU ÉS ASSIM. Mas já pensaste como serias HOJE se vivesses como antes do 25 de Abril de 1974?”
(Almada magazine, April 2022)

Nuno, which of your characters would you invite to dinner?

I would invite Zé Inocêncio to the Bairro Alto of the early 90s, to have dinner at Marão. And the Abília Guard to Papa-Açorda. But she had to be in uniform.

 

Is there any kind of project, service or brand that you would like to work with, artistically?

Underground Lisbon, its neighborhoods, I’m very much of the street. But if I lived comfortably, with financial stability, I would dedicate myself fully to books.


Photographies by Inês Ventura, at the artist’s atelier, in Santa Apolónia, Lisboa.
1st June 2022. 


ART

Attended the Degree of Communication Design at IADE; Design Degree at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon and Painting Degree at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon.

Collaborator in practically all the Portuguese written press, with emphasis on the weekly newspapers Independente (the epic boards of Filosofia de Ponta), Expresso, Sol, Record, Público newspaper and TimeOut Lisboa.

Diário de Uma Quarentena em Risco (2021 Edições Pim!)

Lecturer at Ar.Co: since 2001 and Lisbon School of Design since 2019

 

LIFE

Born in the Mouraria neighborhood, Lisbon, although his family is from Almada.

Illustration for tablecloths, A Brasileira do Chiado, July 2022

“The humor that makes us reflect seriously or even brings the ability to make us change a political opinion that we thought was unshakable.
It is this encounter, the fragility with the unshakable, that attracts me in drawing (and writing) humor.”

Nuno Saraiva is a name that no longer needs an introduction, but even so, we want to know: do we introduce you as a cartoonist, illustrator or artist?

I never thought much about it. I would say that to “cartoonist” I would add “political”, to “artist” add “visual” or “graphic”, I also make comics, which is where I come from. What best defines me will be the word “illustrator”, it really brings together in meaning everything I do. Even in wall paintings I am the illustrator.

 

João Paulo Cotrim said about Nuno: “you take too seriously the not being too serious”, is that something completely natural for you? With others, with work and with yourself?

Perhaps, in an intimate conversation somewhere on a long night, I would say with my eyes on the bottom of an empty glass, that I can’t stand egocentric people, that those who spend hours of their time polishing themselves in a kind of continuous masturbation irritate me. about your audience. You see a lot of that in these areas of the visual arts and there’s no patience. The small and colorful corner of Portuguese illustration will not be an exception. I don’t see myself in vanity and I feel some discomfort in the media exposure as a rule. What is completely natural for me is optimism and good mood, I’m not angry with the world and I only very rarely make this type of innuendo and always about the bottom of an empty glass. What I really take seriously is the final purpose of all my works, the humour, the meaning that I intend to offer, even if ambiguous, even if dramatic. And friends, friends I take them very seriously, they are peers of my work. João Paulo Cotrim, my dear fat friend, knew me very well when he wrote these lines.

 

This posture should make it much easier to work with people who are not exactly in your tune.

Those who know me know that relaxation will come from here, in fact too much relaxation – from the preliminaries of the idea to the critical political content, to the subliminal messages always present in my work, to the deadlines that I push to the limit of the bearable (laughs). I just don’t make it easy on one thing, derailing from the rhythm used by some of my colleagues: I refuse to present sketches. Due to my calendar always bursting at the seams, I got used to not wasting time on preparatory drawings, I never outlined alternatives or solutions B or C. Until now I’ve always done well, but if the client refuses the work I send finished – and it’s already happened – I just have to do it again or refuse. I don’t remember ever slamming the door.

REGRESSO DE D.PEDRO, A SALVAÇÃO DO BRASIL.
Inimigo Público, Série II.
Jornal Expresso, June 2022.

Your characters are fascinating. Well-natured, humorous, and sarcastic. Do you consider that your art meets what was done, for example, by Gil Vicente? Ridendo Castigat Mores, the Latin saying for “correcting manners through laugh”.

As opposed to the easy joke designed to exercise the muscles in your face, to laugh until you lose your breath, I appreciate much more that kind of humor that disarms us, strips our souls and throws us to the ground with a punch in the stomach. And then it lifts us up, but we still look for a line or point of reference to balance us, such is the disorientation caused by the shock. More: that hours later we are still thinking about it. Thinking. The humor that makes us reflect seriously or even brings the ability to make us change a political opinion that we thought was unshakable. It is this encounter, the fragility with the unshakable, that attracts me in drawing (and writing) humor.

“Canção de Lisboa”, trophy for the Especialidade category, Marchas de Lisboa, 2018.

Is there any social-political situation that you especially like to caricature?

In front of a sick Cavaco or a disconcerting Sócrates, I elect the People of this country. The people in their inertia, who don’t manifest themselves, who throw the state of things behind the State’s back. Raphael Bordalo Pinheiro spent his life satirizing the rotten elements of the agony of the constitutional monarchy, kings D. Luís and D. Carlos, the Church, the military, the loan sharks, the politicians, especially the ministers, and above all Fontes Pereira de Melo. Does anyone today remember to associate Bordalo with these figures that made him draw so much ink? No. Bordalo will always remain intimately connected to his anti-hero Zé Povinho, an always unpleasant representation of his contemporary Portuguese people, bowed down, submissive, and little inclined to revolt, or at best to revolt in a small, quiet way, expressed in a fist (this gesture in some cultures, including the Portuguese culture, has the same meaning has a middle finger).

 

Have you ever turned down jobs that went against your social beliefs and ethical values?

Yes, but respecting those same ethical values, I don’t want to reveal here who or which ones. Because they were people or companies who came to me but for some reason did not understand that I was not in the same line of thought, or who simply thought that a designer should be impartial, apolitical and accept whatever is asked of him. This kind of acephalous treatment still happens regularly with other colleagues of mine – namely in advertising agencies.

Santo António e o Mundo, trophy for the Especialidade category, Marchas de Lisboa, 2019.

In 2018, in an interview you gave to Diário de Notícias newspaper (23 September 2018) you mentioned intolerance, about being accused of discrimination when it comes to caricatures. Besides being asked to reduce the cleavage on your characters, have you ever made racial or gendered requests? All of this, has it ever caused you to limit your creativity due to society’s standards?

The political correctness card is alienating today’s society. We witness episodes that end up being counterproductive, like making black people Caucasian or attacking white people for daring to have dreadlocks – aren’t these reactions proto-racist? In my work, which I like to think of as evolving as opposed to regressing, before thinking of the objective (the reader), I think of the people who ask me for this work. Faced with the danger of a possible timely reaction that could lead to a lawsuit and threaten jobs, I think ahead and limit the speed of the thing myself. But when the editing does not depend on third parties, as happened during the publication of my Diário de Uma Quarentena em Risco (Diary of a Quarantine at Risk), political cartoons that I aim to do every day for a year (March 2020 to March 2021)… then I break the whole thing.

 

You are a teacher in an art school, and adding the workshops, teaching occupies a large part of your life. Have you always felt a calling for this? Or was it something that came later into your life?

I realized the passion for teaching from the very first class, I was still in my twenties and had students older than me. Today the age distance is inversely greater. More than teaching, I go for sharing and mutual learning. As I get older, I feel that I am losing notions of realities that pass by us but that we don’t live with. A generation gap that in the lack of translation we don’t understand, in the dialectics, in the customs, in its codes. Teaching 18, 20, 25 year olds helps me to better understand this present.

Composition planning for the comic strip:
“HOJE TU ÉS ASSIM. Mas já pensaste como serias HOJE se vivesses como antes do 25 de Abril de 1974?”
(Almada magazine, April 2022)

Nuno, which of your characters would you invite to dinner?

I would invite Zé Inocêncio to the Bairro Alto of the early 90s, to have dinner at Marão. And the Abília Guard to Papa-Açorda. But she had to be in uniform.

 

Is there any kind of project, service or brand that you would like to work with, artistically?

Underground Lisbon, its neighborhoods, I’m very much of the street. But if I lived comfortably, with financial stability, I would dedicate myself fully to books.

ART

Attended the Degree of Communication Design at IADE; Design Degree at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon and Painting Degree at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Lisbon.

Collaborator in practically all the Portuguese written press, with emphasis on the weekly newspapers Independente (the epic boards of Filosofia de Ponta), Expresso, Sol, Record, Público newspaper and TimeOut Lisboa.

Diário de Uma Quarentena em Risco (2021 Edições Pim!)

Lecturer at Ar.Co: since 2001 and Lisbon School of Design since 2019

 

LIFE

Born in the Mouraria neighborhood, Lisbon, although his family is from Almada.


Photographies by Inês Ventura, at the artist’s atelier, in Santa Apolónia, Lisboa.
1st June 2022.