Sunday, November 20, 2011

A poor neighbourhood

A poor neighbourhood, oil on card, 11.7 / 14 cm   SOLD

Painted behind the Havan store, Sao Jose.

As far as painting goes, these poorer areas are considerably more interesting than middle-class condo-land. There's a variety of buildings, in a range of colours, some of which seem to be ever in a state of construction and addition and people can be seen to be doing things, their lives not shut away behind doors.

There can still be found in Brazil considerable areas of cities taken up by the sort of repair shops, little restaurants, pubs, and stores that are the subject of some of Atget's photo series. In Brazil these are always at least slightly askew and brightly coloured. I think it would be fascinating for a child to grow up in such an environment. I feel dismay when I see emerge the new Brasil of identikit shopping malls and insipid ready made condominiums.

I feel nervous painting in such neighbourhoods though, sensing a close potential for disorder (I feel much the same about Brixton in London) - although the people who approached me were pleasant (much as they have been to me when painting in Brixton too) one kindly advising me that I had left my car lights on. Some of that nervousness is present in the picture, I think.

Working from the car, observing, painting seems voyeuristic and impolite but it is safer and more comfortable: if I'd known someone in the neighbourhood to introduce me it would have been better.

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