The B Word: Samuel de Saboia
B is for… Looking the Business. Feeling your Best self. So Bad it’s good. B is for Browsing and Buying the looks from your favourite Brands. Being Bold and Bringing the most to every Browns ensemble.
Introducing a fresh series of the “The B Word”, in which a new group of our most Brilliant friends show us what they’re wearing and how they wear it (ie. do try this at home.)
For this last instalment of this series, notable emerging artist Samuel de Saboia is transporting us straight to Rio Carnival; taking us (metaphorically) and his favourite, standout Browns ensemble (literally) on his recent visit to the vibrant celebrations.
Since starting his creative journey at the tender age of just 13, the Recife-born star quickly gained a reputation as a contemporary art prodigy through his large-scale explorations of existential dichotomies, as seen through his unique, rebellious lens. Away from the extraordinary madness of Carnival, we got better acquainted with the impressive mastermind behind some of the most complex, poignant and energetic artworks we’ve ever seen.
Full Name: Samuel de Saboia dos Santos França
Three Words To Describe Your Style: Artistic, performative, movement
Favourite Designer: Rei Kawakubo, Issey Miyake and Vivienne Westwood
What drew you to the designers you’re wearing?
Their approach to clothing relies on the self-expression, transformation and empowering of the ones who dress them. Even when it's daywear their clothes have something that stands out.
You’re showcasing these pieces at Rio Carnival – what do you love most about this celebration?
It's all about dancing and indulging with your community, so what's not to love? This time in Brazil is great for exploring the different personalities of one’s self while taking moments away from the daily routine to focus only on pleasure.
Talk us through how you approached styling these pieces.
Celebrations in Brazil are happening daily, so it's clothes that can be effortlessly styled on the go. By the end of the day we’re all shirtless so it's more about the arrival outfit and specific accessories that will help to both stand out and carry on with the day. While most people stop their routine, I'll keep on painting so the clothes have got to be wearable both in my studio and out.
Your work is renowned for being expressive, spiritual and organic - in what ways is your approach to your art reflected in the clothes you wear?
Art is a mix of ethereal and reality, a way of understanding and zooming into life itself. The first brushstrokes are a question, a possibility and look into something. When I dress up this is something of beauty, and different paintings show different nuances of it, but always beautiful, even if terrifying.
Your art has been shown in many cities globally over the last few years - which exhibition do you hold most dear?
"Beautiful Wounds" (NY) and "A Bird Called Innocence" (Zurich) were windows to my soul and moments where I dived deep into healing. I've learned a lot throughout these years of creation. It's an honour to simply be alive and able to do so much art while being a nomad.
Please could you tell us a bit about your journey into the art world?
I started quite young, and by the age of 15 I’d already shown work in my hometown and at 17, I had my first international show. By 20 I had my first solo in NY, and after that I kept on travelling everywhere. Usually I do between seven and 10 countries each year. From residencies to studio practices in the middle of the woods, living in a mountain in Chefchaouen or painting for months in a fab place in London. It's always fantastic to create while in a movement, to be able to experience a life like this and also be part of a movement of great Brazilian artists that are taking the world and shaping it in new ways.
And what does your role as an artist mean to you?
I consider my work very personal and through exploring myself I've been able to inspire others. I'm a Black prismatic person from Brazil. It's exciting to see other routes besides whatever society has programmed and art gives me the power to shape it into materiality. It's before opening doors - I create them.
What imprint would you like your work to leave on the world?
The power of joy, an unlimited sense of being exists within the world without the need to hide or trim identity, heritage and feelings. My work is an ever-going search for knowledge and I'm happy to be an example, but happier to be a forest, part of one, something natural that goes along until it feels that it has always been here.
You speak often of your heritage, could you tell us about the ways in which this influences your process and work?
To create I have to understand myself, and in my practices (life/spirituality) the past doesn't exist in a estatic place since anytime that we think of it the past becomes present. The look into heritage is a look into the history that shaped the world around me so I could exist. It's a place of rooted generational wisdom and wealth where I can bathe in as long as I need and want.
How do your artworks tell your own personal narrative and explore your identity?
How does a leaf tell it's a tree? There's not a line between work and myself since what I create is me. So it's a dance and a play, I feel the rhythm and the moment and then I choose what to show and what not. The characters are alive, within the spiritual world and within my relations. Loved ones, dates, family history, Gods, laughter, rage, introspection and exuberance. It's a calibrated harmony, sometimes furious, but most of the time beautiful.
Please tell us more about your piece showcased at Major - New School, your most recent London showcase at 180 Studios which ended in November ‘22.
That series is called "The Ancestral Hope of Becoming A Constellation Instead Of A Supernova" and it was made between Mexico, Ibiza and London. The pieces are part of an on-going study where I'm understanding how to carry on within others that are aligned creatively, on how our art, movement and existence are part of a bigger change that's happening. The pieces are about a Pilgrim's journey of understandment, a game of small picture meets bigger picture.
Is there a piece of art and/or artist you most admire?
Castiel Vitorino, Helen Frankenthaler, Leonora Carrington, Antonio Oba and Cecily Brown. Their works speak directly into my soul and make my brain pop.
You’ve worked with some big names in the art and fashion worlds - which project are you most proud of so far?
My first campaign for Comme des Garçons as both Director and Artist is such a labour of love, to create everything and have it done in my hometown with some great friends of mine was a dream. Then of course anytime I'm on set with my brother Rafael Pavarotti, from Dior Mens campaigns to Dazed shoots, it's always a pleasure to see it happening and an honour to be part of it.
How do the art and fashion worlds collide for you?
It's quite simple, I love making beautiful things and I love looking good. There's a thin pink/red thread that associates it throughout history and in the end it's just humans mimicking and touching upon their rooted animalistic sides. It's about intention and indicating to others who you are at that moment.
I have several exhibitions this year, starting with my next collaborative show in Milan this March. The title is "Paura" and I'm showing two pieces on the fear and power of transformation. Then I'm off for some residencies around Europe and the U.S - two solo shows, one big institutional exhibit, and a music album and a film on the brink of coming out.
What are two things you can’t live without?
It has to be three - A.R.T. (aka) Amor, Rêve, Time.
Where in the world holds a fun memory for you?
Both Ibiza and Bahia - these places have seen me doing inexplicable things that only the ones who were there at the moment can partake in the joys of knowing.
If you were a piece of clothing, what would you be?
Definitely a MAJOR Comme des Garçons set.
Tell us a secret?
Hush, hush, hush… I've held a smile a whole day after meeting Rei. Almost one year later, I'm still smiling.
What’s the B word that best describes you?
Words: Sophy Davis Russell
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