Latin American Ilustracion: Alvaro Naddeo

By David Schonauer   Wednesday February 3, 2016

Is the refuse found along streets merely trash?

Perhaps, notes illustrator Alvarro Naddeo, it has a deeper meaning and more value than it may seem.

Naddeo says the subject matter of much of his work is waste, over-consumption and social inequality. “The brands, logos and packaging depicted in my work are objects with an inherent duality, both desirable and despicable, themes that are a clear byproduct of my having worked in advertising for more than 20 years,” he says.

Originally from São Paulo, Brazil, Naddeo has also lived in Lima, Peru, New York City and Los Angeles, which is is current home. “These urban environments have shaped my memory and permeate most of my work,” he notes. His series of paintings titled “Another Life,” named a winner of the Latin American Ilustracion 4 competition, tell the story of a man by depicting the small objects and personal possessions surrounding him.

Naddeo is an essentially self-taught artist, though he was helped by his father. "My father is an illustrator, and as a kid I spent many hours drawing and watching him work," he says. "He was a constant source of inspiration and encouragement, but having an artist father also proved frustrating at times. At 17, I remember comparing my work to his and thinking my drawings and paintings were not good enough. I quit.”

Instead of art, he pursued a career in advertising, working as an art director. “This allowed me to exercise my interest in art, but without requiring mastery with the pencil or brush," he says. "Twenty years later, while living in New York City and being exposed to its many contrasts, my desire to pick up the brushes intensified. Now I am back to painting, and this time I’m not quitting.”


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Dispatches from Latin America