Rafaella - @rafaellabraga

We visited Brazilian artist Rafaella Braga at her colourful studio in Alt-Treptow. She relocated to Berlin three years ago to pursue her passion of painting. 

 

Kukir Ring - LabradoriteKukir Link Ring - GarnetKukir Ring - CitrineSolmu Double Ring - Garnet


What’s your heritage, where are you originally from?

I was born and raised in Brazil. The history of the country's ancestral identity is complex since it's a highly multi-ethnic population, so a part of my heritage has been lost in my family over the generations. 

Where are you based now, what brought you there? 

I’ve been living in Berlin for three years now since I moved from my hometown in search of better opportunities for me and my family. Growing up as a woman in Brazil and working as a low income self-taught artist has never been easy, and now with all the violence we are experiencing with a dictatorship in power, things have become even more serious. 


Cuadra Ring - Gold VermeilCuadra Ring - TourmalineBroken Pared Ring - Pave TourmalineGold Pared Ring

What’s your earliest memory of painting/making 

Around six years old trying to paint flowers in the preschool. 

How did you know this was different to the other hobbies you had?

I've been connected to art since I was a kid and even though I started to see it as work at the age of 15, I always saw it more as a destiny than a hobby. I started with dance, singing and theater until I found myself in the visual arts, first with graffiti, sculpture, drawing and lastly painting, the medium that allows me to communicate my best self right now. 

 

Cuadra Ring - Gold VermeilCuadra Ring - TourmalineBroken Pared Ring - Pave TourmalineGold Pared Ring


Your biggest inspiration for your art at the momemt? 

My work research started with a real interested about movement, forms, the bodies and all the mysteries surrounding it. Over time, I started to see how it helps me understand many things about myself and the world around me. So I still take it as a main inspiration for my large scale paintings. 


How would you describe your personal style, does this style influence your art work?

I’m very influenced by Y2K asthetics and one thing that comes from that and I can notice in my work is the up-cycling. Like my clothes I cut, sew and add different fabrics to the canvas. 

 

Gold Claavi Ring - TourmalineTextured c/o Claavi Ring - Gold Vermeil


Best album to listen to whilst creating?

I dont like listening to music while painting cause I feel more focused on the silence. But I love loud music when I arrive at the studio and I’m getting ready to work or while I wait for the paintings to dry. One of the albums that's in my life daily is The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill, I feel like I learn something new every time I hear it.

When did you decide to pursue painting, how did your family members and freinds respond to this decision?

At that time my family and friends were insecure with this, cause in Brasil we grew up with the idea that if you come from the bottom you must be a doctor or lawyer in order to succeed in life. But since I started to conquer myself more in my work, some of them started to be more supportive. 

 

Zinkir ChokerKukir Ring - LabradoriteTextured Jardin Ring, Kukir Link Ring - Garnet


Tried and true methods against creative block?

I always say that I don't believe in creative blocks. I think we tend to judge ourselves a lot and, most of the time, we think that our ideas are not good enough to be put on paper. All ideas are valid, a part of a process and a big step towards developing our imagination. Even when the only thing your mind can do is doodle, try to put your ideas out there without thinking too much and leave the dualities of beautiful and ugly, bad or good behind. Give yourself time too, sometimes we just need to breathe a little. This can make a big difference in the way you handle your creativity. 

What's your most recent acheivment? 

Being part of HOA, an artistic organization founded in Brazil that's bringing a decolonial perspective to contemporary art in the country. They're doing such beautiful, important and meaningful work and I'm glad to be part of it.

  

 Likes?

Challenges, empathy, solitude, passionate people, nature itself. 

Dislikes?

Indifference, dualities, intolerance.

 

Photography: @gracev.butler