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 Fernando Gerardo  (1957 - )

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Lived/Active: Africa/Spain      Known for: realist painting, graphic designer, illustration, urban scenes

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Ad Code: 4
Fernando  Gerardo
Lugar à sombra (A place in the shade)
Artwork images are copyright of the artist or assignee
This biography from the Archives of AskART:
Please note: Artists not classified as American in our database may have limited biographical data compared to the extensive information about American artists.

The following information, submitted 2013, is from the artist.
Born in Luabo, Mozambique, on the 29th of September 1957, I was the younger of two sons. My parents, also born in Africa, worked for Sena Sugar States in Luabo, a small town surrounded by extensive sugar cane fields and the Zambezi River.

In 1963, we moved to the capital, Lourenço Marques, known as Maputo and at the age of nine I was  send to school in South Africa, first to Middelburg then to White River, following high school in Nelspruit, when in the second year, an attentive teacher alerted my recently divorced father that I should be sent to an art school. In 1972, I was send to Johannesburg Art Ballet and Music High school, which I attended for two wonderful years and interrupted by my father’s decision to joining him in Portugal, where he had moved a few months before.
I arrived in Lisbon on December 1973 and in January 1974, I entered Escola de Artes Decorativas António Arroio, as an unofficial student waiting for permission to start my equivalent exams to keep on studying.
In April 1974, a revolution brought changes to our way of life and following a chaotic state which Portugal was in, the Ministry of Education paid no further attention to my persistent requests for exams. This situation went on for one and a half years, until my father decided that I should start working for a living and from this point on, at the age of eighteen, I began working in a 18th century style replica furniture factory and being no more protected by my father, I rapidly was asked to leave home and began living in rented rooms for the next ten years.

Meanwhile, in 1977, I started working in advertising as a graphic designer, in various agencies until, 1985 when I became a freelance illustrator.

Although living in a rented room, I kept a studio across the street and was able to work with many sleepless nights to meet unbreakable deadline schedules and in 1989, I rented my first apartment where I worked comfortably until 1991 when the advertising market changed radically from a lot of work to no work at all. From this point on and until 2004, I was no longer capable of finding clients to keep on working as a professional illustrator. Meanwhile, from 1999 to 2002, I worked as a graphic designer for a software company, developing its corporate image and software products, commercial image.
In May 2004, I began my artistic paintings and for the first two years only used watercolors. Changing to acrylics was a natural step, supported by learning painting techniques, I soon started using oil paint and painting became an easier process, again learning concepts and techniques that are common knowledge, but by adding my own solutions to suite my needs, I sometimes get better results and subtle changes of expression.

My studio is also my home and I work next to my computer where I manipulate and prepare images to serve as guide for my paintings. Because painting has set my life rhythm, working at home and having all I need around me, I can keep going until I feel satisfied or comfortable to end the section.

I don’t see painting as a job; instead, it is a permanent state of mind where feelings and decisions must meet and by being able to analyze my paintings at any time or stage, it is of most importance for me to paint at home, away from any distraction that may interfere with my concentration.
In a realistic painting style, I approach my subject, mostly urban scenarios, feeling surrounding places or common everyday life situations that get my attention, involving thoughts or poetic approaches depending on what sets my mind.

A common characteristic to all my paintings is that they have on the back of the canvas information of the title, dimensions in centimeters, the month and year created and a repeated signature because it is signed in the front as well.

All paintings start supported by a story that I know or create to sustain a structure from witch I develop the paintings. Sometimes my intentions are different from what I previously thought as being interesting and end up painting the subject using different approaches, letting thoughts and feelings discover paths around the subject using mostly monochromatic choices to create an atmosphere inviting the viewer’s attention to what I feel is relevant. By being born and raised in Africa where color is strong everywhere, I still feel that European architecture lends a soft monochromatic atmosphere to urban sceneries.
Fernando Gerardo
November, 2013

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