Phosphor Art's Tiago Galo has been gaining a lot of attention lately, with features on websites such as It's Nice That, Illustration Age, Creative Boom and more. His work is constantly evolving so we thought you might like to learn a little bit more about this exciting new illustrator and his work...
How do you create your artwork? Do you work digitally from the start, or do you sketch on paper first?
It usually starts from sketching out ideas that I previously had marinating in my head. That’s why I always keep a pen nearby, cause I never know when something is ready to come out. After that I scan it and work on top of the sketch with a digital pen and a vector program.
Zines and comics have played a bit part in your work throughout the years. Tell us a little about your previous projects in this field and what they mean to you. Do you have any plans to create any more comics in the future?
As a kid I grew up reading comic books, first the super-hero ones like X-men and Batman, and then as I got older I got interested in reading more mature ones like Corto Maltese by Hugo Pratt or Ghost World by Daniel Clowes (I was a very eclectic kid as you can see). So it was just a matter of time until I wanted to draw and create my own stories. I started out with some friends making small homemade fanzines and collaborating with school publications. Later on I eventually entered some competitions and got some stuff published.
I had to put all this aside when I took my architecture degree and started to work as an architect, but I gave it another go in 2011 and won a major comic competition in Portugal called Amadora BD. After that I couldn’t ignore it anymore, and even though right now I’m more involved with illustration work, I always keep myself available for new projects in that field.
You have a degree in Architecture and Art Direction. What made you decide it was illustration you really wanted to do and how do these subjects inspire your illustration work today?
I remember studying the Bauhaus movement at school and thinking: “Wow! These guys rock!”. The way art, architecture and design could be influenced by one another made perfect sense to me, so when I decided to get into architecture I always got my mind set on doing other stuff and experimenting with different things. In the end, working as an architect turned out to be such an intense experience that really didn’t leave any space for other things to happen. So eventually I had to leave architecture behind, and studying art direction seemed a great way to get back on track and pursue design and illustration. But of course all I’ve learned as an architect has had a huge impact on the way I get things done today, not only aesthetically speaking, but especially in the way I manage to turn an idea or brief into something real.
I always say that every decision I’ve made up until this point, even the way I tied my shoe laces in the morning, got me here, answering this interview.
What other artists do you admire and why?
I’ve got lots of influences and artists that I admire, not only in the comics and illustration field but also, and especially, in cinema. People like Wes Anderson and Buster Keaton always gave me a sense that it’s possible to make things differently and not to just settle for what’s “normal” or conventional. I like to see work that make me feel that way. But to be honest I get influenced by so many different things that it’s difficult to say which artists I admire most.
Where do you get the ideas for your work? Much of it mixes the everyday and the surreal in a very interesting way.
I’m always getting odd ideas in the most common places and everyday situations. A simple trip on the subway or a late night walk with my dog can turn into a “piñata” full of ideas. I tend to observe people everywhere I go (yeah I’m that guy) and there’s nothing more surreal and fascinating than the way most people behave. Including myself.
Lisbon is such a beautiful city to live in! You must find all of those colourful buildings and patterned tiles very inspiring. What do you love about your city and is there much of a creative scene?
It’s quite inspiring living here, especially the way Lisbon introduces itself to you, gathering so much cultural and architectonic influences. You can sense that a lot has gone on here throughout the ages. It’s a layered city and each one has a different story to tell.
In the last few years there’s been a lot more going on in the art scene, especially in urban art. A simple walk in the city can easily turn into an art tour with murals made by great international artists.
What would be your dream job or commission?
Realistically speaking, I think that any job that gives me the opportunity to get my work recognised as mine by anyone who sees it would already be a dream job.
Unrealistically speaking, having my illustrations on a spacecraft sent to space with greetings to any alien life that could get them out there…