If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away---Henry David Thoreau

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Stephan Doitschinoff aka Calma: Brazilian street artist

Stephan Doitschinoff—the Brazilian street artist also known as Calma—creates a unique visual language and style by embracing his eclectic influences. Themes in his paintings and murals are inspired by an informed spiritual history and heritage, filtered through a distinctly urban point of view. The resulting imagery is rich in religious symbolism, often accompanied by Latin text as well as pichação (a style of graffiti writing, native to São Paolo). His work explores the rich history of Brazilian folklore and the syncretism between Christian theology and African spiritual traditions. As the son of an Evangelical minister, Stephan spent his entire childhood absorbing the visual vocabulary of religious art. As an artist, he has developed imagery which creatively combines Afro-Brazilian folklore with Baroque religious iconography, as well as Alchemic and Pagan symbolism. Stephan’s street alias, Calma (Portuguese for: Calm) is also a shortened version of con alma (Latin for: with soul). The artist says: “I personally see the church as an archaic institution that always aimed to control the masses. I think it is an appropriate symbol for corrupt modern institutions like big corporations, media channels, and governments.”

From 2005 to 2008, Stephan traveled throughout the Brazilian countryside of Bahia, painting murals on adobe houses, chapels and even a cemetery. In the small village of Lençóis, he collaborated with local artisans. Visuals from the trip are documented in his 2008 book, Calma: The Art of Stephan Doitschinoff, and are also the subject of a short documentary film, called: TEMPORAL.

TEMPORAL : The Art of Stephan Doitschinoff (aka Calma) from Jonathan LeVine Gallery on Vimeo.

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