finok

Raphael Sagarra Finok (born 1985) in São Paulo has established himself as one of the most prolific young names on the streets of the megacity that is the epicenter of South American graffiti culture. It’s a city whose artists tend to maintain a tradition of picking  a color scheme for their street work and sticking to it: Finok’s is green, yet in his rapidly developing studio practice, he expands from it to a full color palette. He fills his large‐ scale canvases with many of the tropes that have come to exemplify the city. These range from densely patterned backgrounds, folkloric characters, and touches from contemporary urban Brazilian life, like kite flying, fire balloons, and the graffiti genre endemic to São Paulo and other Brazilian cities. These tropes were all familiar to Finok from childhood. He did the things that every Brazilian boy does, playing soccer and flying kites, but his neighborhood offered alternatives. “My family moved to a set of buildings in the neighborhood of Cambuci,” he explains. “I owe much of my life to that place. There I learned many things. I played soccer, flew kites, and started doing graffiti there. I saw firsthand the right and wrong way. I think if it was not for that place, I might not look at the world the way I see it today. I have great friends there to this day.” 
The Kite is essential to Finok’s works. “Like graffiti, Brazilian kite flying has a playful side as well as one not so gentle. Initially flying kites is just a pastime,” Finok explains, “but kite flyers here coat the long strings with milled glass powder so they can cut off the kite of another flyer... When I put the kites in my work, I go beyond more than just a pastime. I believe it’s different from playing soccer, where the loser of the game can in five minutes keep on playing. But with kite flying, if I cut your kite down, you lose the kite; you don’t have anything to play with any more. Game over. It’s a preparation for what comes in your adult life.”

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