EK Interview: Maykel Nunes

Our very own Konahrtist featured Maykel last year (here’s the post). We figured it was time to find out more about the artist who turns notebooks into dopebooks. Check his words out below:

Introduce yourself a bit
Well, I’m Maykel Nunes, a Brazilian Graphic Designer, illustrator and college professor, that is a bit curious, detail-oriented person, enjoy handmade jobs but also can’t imagine how to live without technology.

art blog - Maykel Nunes//Moleskine - Empty Kingdom

What part of Brazil are you from?
I live in southeast of Brazil, in the state of Minas Gerais (in the past we produced a lot of gold and gems, that is the reason of the name, in english means General Mines), in a countryside city named Governador Valadares.

Can you tell us a little about home? Is it anything like City of God?  Awesome movie.
My state is surrounded by two famous cities: São Paulo (the economic capital of Brazil) and Rio de Janeiro (maybe our most famous city). City of God is really an amazing film, but unfortunately, some Brazilian films can not portray all of Brazil. My city is very different, we don’t have beach in my state, but we have a lot of rivers, mountains and forest (different from the Amazon that is very far from here). Here we have a mountain called Ibituruna (photo below), in an indigenous language means Black Rock. It is a perfect place to practice some sports such as mountain biking, mountaineering, hang gliding and paragliding (every March we hosted the World Cup Paragliding) .It is also a very hot city, usually is 40 ° C (105 F) and almost no rain.

What artists have influenced your work?
That is a really hard question; I have a lot of great references. Brazil it’s an incredible factory of artists and designers. But my shortlist is: @adhemas, @osgemeos, @mbarbadas, @hirokawahara, @annaanjos, @obrunomota and many others.

Where did you get the idea Moleskin notebooks as the template for your art?
Actually, it was not my idea. In March 2009, a friend made a trip to Italy and bought a moleskine as a present for me. I always heard about this legendary notebook, a lot of great artists in the past had used as a personal notebook. However, the moleskine remained intact in my backpack for about five months, until one day I opened it and started doodling some drawings without compromise. I noticed that with the moleskine I was able to draw what couldn’t be used in my current job, so it was something like an anti-stress antidote.

art blog - Maykel Nunes//Moleskine - Empty Kingdom

What is it about the Moleskin that is different from other notebooks?
After my first moleskine, I made a lot of researches about types of notebooks and I found a lot of brands that try to be like moleskine, but don’t have a good bookbinding, or quality paper, isn’t durable. And of course, don’t have all the history as the Italian notebook

How long does it take you to fill out one of those?
Depends, some double pages I drew in a day, others in three days, depends on inspiration. I usually do my drawings when I have free time. Unfortunately this is rare in recent days.

Tell us about your art, where does your inspiration come from?
Each page is like a visual diary, everything that is illustrated is something that is happening in my life or someone close, or something that I saw in a movie, tv show, a magazine, etc. Some pages I decide a theme before start, like music, soccer, trip and then I explore icons about that subject. It’s an illustrated brainstorm. I like to draw watching TV, it makes me have fresh ideas.

art blog - Maykel Nunes//Moleskine - Empty Kingdom

It looks like a lot of though went into the composition of the background for the pictures, how did you decide what to include?
Like I said, I always pay attention to everything around me, when I am working, running, driving, supermarket or restaurant, anywhere and anytime. I also always seek a good composition, it is an opportunity to apply some knowledge of art, to make sure that the end result will be harmonious. The idea of photographing the scene in a notebook, because I’ve got a passion for photography and it is good practice for both hobbies in the same work. Usually, elements of the scenario is related to the drawing theme, but this is not a rule.

How long have you been an artist?
Since I was born… I think my skills in art it’s a genetic inheritance. My grandpa was I incredible handicraftsman. I didn’t have a chance to meet him, when I was born he was already dead, but my father says that he was a very smart man, and without any study was able to design a lot of thing. My father its like him, who worked many years with cutting and polishing gems to mount in jewelry. In other words, handmade skills was always present in my family and I chose a course in Graphic Design, which helped me improve this skill.

What other media (if any) do you employ?
Last year I bought a iPad and started doing some drawings on the tablet. It’s a great experience, but nothing can replace the pencil and paper.

Where do you see yourself in five years?
I like to make plans. I don’t know how to live without a target. I hope can be working more with illustration and other stuffs that I like to do, like photography and manual bookbinding. I really want to visit new countries and places like London, France, Spain, Australia, the west coast of USA: San Francisco, Los Angels, Seattle; returning to Canada to visit Vancouver. Maybe, be able to live e work in one of this places for a while, who knows?

You were just in Canada, what did you do there? (yes we’ve been following you)
I went to Canada to try to improve my English. Since I begin this Moleskine Project some blogs around the world disclosed my job and made contact with me, so I though that is was important to study English to be able to speak with everybody. I spent only 6 weeks in Canada and was good to practice my listening, speaking, reading and writing, but I still have a lot of job to do. I also had the opportunity to know this incredible country and cities like Toronto, Montreal, Quebec and Ottawa. I went to New York too, but only for three days, the next time I want to spend more time in the Big Apple.
art blog - Maykel Nunes//Moleskine - Empty Kingdom

Is the food any good?
LOL…. How do you know about that? Hehe.. The food was a big problem for me. I’m very familiar with Brazilian food, every day we eat rice and beans and I didn’t had that in Toronto. I lived in an Albanian homestay and they have a different type of food, so it was a bit difficult to eat. But the city has a lot of good restaurant and pizzas.

Now that you’re home, what’s next for you?
I continue working as a graphic designer in a studio in my city, also teaching in a Graphic Design course at a local university. But I want to devote more time to my illustration work, so, perhaps, one day be able to work only with that.

Can you juggle?
I think so. I hardly do only one thing at a time. The trick is to be organized, to do everything correctly. I think all professional today must be multi-task.

art blog - Maykel Nunes//Moleskine - Empty Kingdom

Do you know how to cook? What’s your favorite food?
No, I don’t, and one of my 2011 resolutions is learn how to cook, hehe. I like Italian food, Mexican food, Japanese and Chinese food, I tried Turkish food in Toronto and liked very much too. But daily, nothing replaces the Brazilian food.

Why are women from Brazil so hot? What do they eat?
LOL, LOL, LOL… That was the question most unexpected and funny. But we are really happy and blessed. I think the secret is the mixture of different peoples and races of our ancestors. So, now the Brazilian girls have a special charm and a captivating mood that only the Brazilian people, in addition to physical attributes. By the way, this is the decade in Brazil, will host the World Cup and the 2014 Summer Olympics in 2016, so if you do not know our country this is a great opportunity.

OH and did we mention? We just got word that Moleskine (the company that makes the notebooks) has commissioned work from three artists, one of whom is Mr. Nunes. Pretty cool right? CZECH IT OUTE