Lu Mourelle is a Brazilian painter based in Portugal. Her paintings are the result of her restless childhood due to alternating between Brazil and Europe. She focuses her paintings on the representation of women who are different and rich in personality as well as emotion; characters of atypical and contemporary beauty. We sat down with Lu Mourelle to talk about her current projects, inspiration, and the start of her artistic career.
When did you know you wanted to be an artist?
Despite living with art and artists since childhood, working with art only became part of my life later on. As a child, I lived in Europe for several years and was used to going to museums and galleries from an early age, influenced by my parents. My mother, an artist herself, established a School of Arts when we returned to Brazil. But only after I ended my professional career of 20 years in the fashion industry, did I allow myself to wander through the artistic area.
The real trigger happened in Paris, during a visit to the Louvre, when I decided to resume drawing after accompanying a horde of students who took drawing lessons at the museum. I left and immediately bought paper and pencils, sat in the Tuileries Gardens and started sketching the sculptures surrounding me. From then on, what had once been just a hobby became a passion, and consequently a new profession. I haven’t quit since and today I dedicate my time entirely to painting.
Can you talk about your artistic influences and other artists you are most inspired by?
My first conscious and contemporary love in painting was because of Manolo Valdés. I love his deconstructed and enigmatic women. Strong. I still remember my euphoria when I came across one of his public sculptures in Valladolid, Spain. I wanted to hug it right there in the middle of the street. And I hugged it! It’s obvious that the illustrators’ traits also have a great influence on part of my work. In this segment, some examples are Downtown, Ekaterina Koroleva, Max Sergeev, and Anne Sofie Madsen.
For the impact, consistency, coherence, and strength of the works as a whole, I mention Oswaldo Guayasamín, Paulo Sayeg, Anna Bocek, Bobbie Burgers and Carlos Delgado. There are countless painters whom I truly admire. I could spend hours listing them and some would still be missing. Each of them, in some way, contributes to my studies and artistic development.
Do you prefer to work alone or collaborate with others?
Most of the time I work alone, but through my experiences in the ateliers and salons of the National Society of Fine Arts in Lisbon, I also see grace and even poetry in the works of multiple collaborations. It is also an art to align several talents within the same work, reconciling different languages into a unique result. It’s a bit like magic.
Can you tell us about a project you’re currently working on?
At the moment I am involved with two large individual exhibition projects, to take place in August and September 2021. The first will be held in Inatel Gallery, in Évora, as part of the official program of the city’s festivities, with support from the federal and municipal governments and titled “Enchantment.”
The second will fully occupy the Church of Santiago, in Monsaraz, a relevant point on the way of pilgrims to Santiago de Compostela, under the title “Brides of the Way.” That plus the production of my gallery’s collection in Cascais, in the Cidadela Art District. It is the corner of the city that is dedicated to art and is within the medieval walls of its fortress. As you can see, this summer there will be no laying on the beach for me. Just lots of brushes, paints, and fun. This is the fortune of loving what you do. Work is a pleasure!
What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an artist?
I can’t imagine anything that would give me more pleasure at this stage of my life. It’s like I’ve discovered an oasis of existence. I won’t say that every moment is wonderful, that there are no hardships or uncertainties, but the fact is that the pleasure I have in developing this profession overcomes all adversities. From this point forward I will only allow myself to do what fulfills my soul. If I weren’t a painter, maybe I would get involved with something regarding travel and different cultures. This intrigues me, so maybe I would go this way.
Have you found any other artists on SINGULART whose work you admire?
Of course I have! There are so many people producing and delivering their best work that deserve recognition. I particularly enjoy the works of Saulo Silveira, Mariola Landowska, Manuel Leonardi, Dourone, Paul Mathieu, Shirin Donia, Ivano Stocco, to name a few.
What advice could you give to young artists starting out?
Don’t give up! As in any other profession, success is much more than 99% sweat and 1% inspiration + luck! There are many of us producing and creating and there never seems to be enough available spaces for everyone. If we were to give in to every “no” we hear, we would get nowhere. Just remember: luck finds those who work! Don’t stop, rather insist and persist. Get to work! Happy journey!