Meet Pedro Nekoi, the vibrant Brazilian digital collage artist making a splash in the art scene with a deep love for colors, shapes, and patterns. Pedro uses these elements "to communicate his emotions through surrealism, fashioning fresh universes and personal worlds."
We've teamed up with Pedro for our Creator Collaboration Series, a journey into the richness of human creativity. Through this series, we're exploring the fresh perspectives of creators worldwide, learning about their craft, and exploring what "glimmer" means to them. Each artist, including Pedro, interpreted "glimmer" through their unique medium.
In this interview, Pedro opens up about his creative process, the wellsprings of his inspiration, and the lessons his art has taught him about self-discovery.
Shivan: Your creative medium is digital collage. How would you describe it?
Pedro: I take pictures and cut them and put them in a different environment. I love taking different elements and playing with the surrealistic aspect of the collage. So, I can take a cake. This cake will be huge in the collage and the people will be very small. I like distorting reality somehow. In the last three years, I started introducing 3D art into my collages. I’m mixing these very realistic 3D-like types of elements and playing with the 2D aspect of the collage.
In this art form, there's a lot of room for experimentation with light, shapes and textures. That's why digital collage is so cool.
Shivan: Do you use your artwork to escape reality or to enhance your reality?
Pedro: Both. For me it was an escape since I was a child.
I was the younger kid in my family and l was always playing alone. And then growing up and finding out more about myself, my sexuality, it was my escape from reality. Because on the Internet and with my work, I could be whoever I wanted.
That's the idea for my work. I'm creating my own world and those elements are related to the world that I'm thinking of – this out of reality world. I feel that every single element I put in my artwork relates to me. I'm always using images from the fifties and sixties because it feels like such a different reality from what it is now. And that's what makes the surrealistic aspect of the artwork so intense.
Shivan: How would you describe your artwork?
Pedro: I would describe my artwork as a mixture of postmodern architecture and surrealism. Textures everywhere, colors, stripes, photos, flowers, mountains. It’s like vintage imagery from advertising. It’s very difficult to explain visually, but it’s miscellaneous things put together. I put together objects that would never coexist or like in proportions. They are so out of reality that it is surrealistic.
I believe that when someone looks at my work, they will perceive it as cheerful and colorful because it is colorful. I'm a very positive person. Even when I'm down, I cannot create artwork that is soggy or sad. I try to always stick to the positive outcome.
Shivan: Your artwork is heavily influenced by pop culture. Can you tell us more about this source of creative inspiration?
Pedro: TV shows from the sixties, seventies and eighties: The stage. The lights. I'm obsessed. I used to live in Japan, so I'm also very into Japanese TV shows, like eighties TV shows because it's just another level of extra.
I feel like because I was an Internet child, exposed to so many different shows and cultures, that it made me more curious to know more about other things. So, I think that's where the inspiration from pop culture comes from.
I feel what my work does for me is it highlights my ideas and my view of the world and what I want to be, the world that I want to live in.
Shivan: In what ways are you inspired by Sao Paulo, Brazil?
Pedro: Architecture inspires me. I like the Brazilian way of postmodern architecture. When you see arcs in the buildings or Greek columns. There are so many pictures on my computer and cell phone of random places that I've been to. It is more about the small details of a city –the textures, the marble of tiles of a building.
Shivan: What is your creative environment like? And how important is it to your artistic expression?
Pedro: If a stranger walks in my house, they would be very surprised with the colors and textures and all the knickknacks. I have this huge collection of poodles and other small things I collect from flea markets and traveling the world. I have created a World of Pedro.
So, the elements that I have in my house, I take inspiration from them and put them in my artwork. My artwork is a mix of surreal things – things that would not coexist in real life; I translate my artwork into my life and vice versa. It's very connected.
Shivan: How would you describe the moment when inspiration strikes?
Pedro: It comes out of nowhere. It's just this idea that you have. It's the glimmer. When it strikes, I need to write this down. I need to draw something. I need to keep the moment, because in the future, I will want to go back to the moment.
Every glimmer moment is important because even if you don't remember, it will still be in the back of your mind. I think most of the times when I create things, those glimmer moments come back to me, even if I don't write it down or sketch it.
Shivan: Can you tell us about the hero piece you created for Glimmer?
Pedro: Through this work, I wanted to represent the moment you have a glimmer and all the gears and circuits existing within you that begin to work in harmony. It's like a cuckoo clock where there is the cuckoo and the entire electrical circuit and machinery behind it, making everything move in sync.
Shivan: What has your art taught you? How has it allowed you to learn more about yourself?
Pedro: My artwork allowed me to explore myself and to create a community.
When I was like a teenager, I was going through all of these questions about my sexuality and discovering that I was a gay man. Using elements and references to music and queer culture in my artwork let me create a community and share it with people that may have struggled the same way as me.
My artwork made me stronger and showed me there are people around the world who can relate to me and my artwork. It was just like a form of expression, then became like a community.