Edgar Franco's Cosmic Art
Interviewed by Sandro Alex
Edgar Franco is an architect and Brazilian underground artist, 33 years old. Since the 14 years he collaborates with fanzines and independent magazines of Brazil and exterior, producing comics and illustrations, already tends more than 1000 published pages.
The style of pictures of Edgar was defined by a Spanish critic as " philosophical fantasy", in an attempt of classifying its histories that are about existentialist questions and reflections about the human condition in a fantastic ambient of characters that send us to several mythologies, above all the Greek and the Hindu culture.
In the book " The Comics in Brazil: Theory and Practice " Gazy Andraus summarizes Edgar Franco's work:
" The only visible architecture elements in Edgar's comics are the oniric constructions of castles of strange aesthetics, recorded in other planets to do to see the incautious reader, our own existential situation in an uncertain world, where the time is relative, or where everything exists at the same time as it is told in the quantum physics. Edgar, owner of an exclusive design, with some words spoken by your charactesr and a world of symbolic objects (as the clock, the cube, the butterfly),passes to us short and direct knowledges, that play the brain (or the heart) of the reader , informing him that is in action the time of the reflection of his soul "!
Besides Comics, Edgar Franco also accomplishes illustrations for SF magazines and zines and cover of CDs (bands of progressive rock, doom, death and black metal) where he distills his influences of William Blake, Bruegel, Roger Dean, H. R. Giger and others.
Among his more important works are included the comics album " Symphonies of the Essence ", the album " Agartha " and comics published in the album " Brasilian Heavy Metal ", Brazilian version of the famous American comic magazine " Heavy Metal ".
Now Edgar is devoted to a PHD studies in multimedia arts at USP (State University of São Paulo, Brazil) and to the study of posthuman art and artists.
Sandro Alex: When did your interest begin for drawing and which comics that you more he liked to read?
Edgar Franco: My interest for comics repairs to the days of the childhood, before even of knowing to read, my father (an inveterate reader), bought comics for me. But the larger involvement with that art gave him when I was 12 years old and I began being interested for horror comics. Surprisingly I already liked more the art in black and white, I started to take contact with the work of many Brazilian artists like Shimamoto, Flávio Colin, Mozart Couto and I discovered the magazines of the publishing D-art, I published my first drawning to the reader's section of the magazine " Calafrio ". I was not interested in comics of hero (Marvel and cia), I only came to like starting from the moment in that began to be published in Brazil the " graphic novels " of brilliant artists like Alan Moore, Frank Miller, Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman. Later,I took contact with the European comics, discovering the limitless possibilities of that language then. Among the artists that more I admire they are Philipe Druillet, Caza and Victor Mesquita, European that keep some likeness with a style of comics that comes if developing in Brazil, "Poetic-philosophical comics"! Now the comics that more I like to read they are of brazilian artists that follow that style, like Gazy Andraus, Flávio Calazans, Antônio Amaral and Erika Saheki, unhappily, for the publishers' seriousness, the those authors' brilliant and innovative work continues being published almost exclusively by the fanzines.
Is there how long you are in the scenery of the independent comics ? What were your first works?
Half of my life ...I began to contact zines in 1985 and of there for here the addiction only increased! The fanzines is a middle of communication where the freedom and the experimentation reign, they are the answer to a idiot media just worried in feeding the consumption waves, in the fanzines prejudice, censors or market interests doesn't exist. They are completely free of market laws, in them the language of comics can develop, the artists try, they innovate without the castration of unscrupulous editors! My first works were, for more incredible than it seems, comics of heavy horror, with a lot of violence, but already on this time I gives for noticing the poetic and philosophical vein of my scripts. First comic that I published called " Son of Lucifer ", it went in the middle of the eighties in the zine Odissey . Therefore later I went uniting my interest for poetry to mine to do comics , it was a natural process, as always I wrote poems (since the 11 years old) slowly, in a flowing way, my comics went assimilating to poetic structure to my scripts, without losing the basic characteristic of they tell a history.
Did you already have your works published in the exterior?
I already had several works published in the exterior, most in Portugal and in Spain, everybody in independent publications. In Portugal the main prozines that I publish my works is: " Velvet Voyage ", " O Vôo da Águia"," X-Goto" and " Brave ". But I already had participations isolated in SF/ Fantasy magazines and Zines of distant countries as Romania, Germany, England and Denmark. I also made already cover art works of CDs for bands of another countries as Argentina and Czech Republic. In the moment I have a site in the Internet with my works, I hope to increase my artistic performance in the exterior with that insert in the WEB (this is the site!).
What are your opinion about the publications destined to independent comics in Brazil?
The fanzines is the best vehicle for the publication of comics, besides a new universe is in frank expansion, the universe of the E-Zines, the zines of the Internet that open to the artists a new universe of possibilities - as colored comics and inclusion of sound track. Some singular and brilliant initiatives have been changing the profile of the alternative editions in Brazil, it is the case of the Publisher "Mark of Fantasy", created by studious and doctor in fanzines for Sorbonne Henrique Magalhães, she publishes two regular magazines " Top!Top! " and " Mandala " (destined to the publication of occult,fantastic, poetic and philosophical comics), besides it throws vanguard artists' unpublished albums refused by the publishers. The author is I pay with a percentage of copies of the edition, the edition work is careful and creative revealing us the publisher's seriousness and the honesty of its proposal. My album "Agartha"was ppublished by "Mark of Fantasy".
In your comics and illustrations We see a strong presence cosmic - esoteric , do speak to us about your artistic and literary influences?
I always looked for the man's essence, I always questioned the reasons of the existence, and in my way (that still begins) I came across the authors as Helena Blavatsky, Huberto Rohden, Hermann Hesse, Ouspenski, Aleister Crowley, Gandhi, Budha, Bontempo, William Blake, Omar Khayyam, Krishnamurti, Hermes Trimegistus, Lao-Tsé, among other ...I read a lot of European philosophy in the adolescence, above all German Nietzsche and Schopenhawer... unassuming the comics masters as Caza and Druillet, Gazy and Calazans... Ray Bradbury's scientific fiction, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell... the poetry of Poe , Alvares de Azevedo, Augusto dos Anjos, Baudelaire. I am also influenced by the music that I hear , it is very important in the process of creation of my works, working as cloth of climatic fund for elaboration of comics and illustrations, taste from progressive rock (Uriah Heep, Yes, ELP, King Crimson), going by the epic and melodic metal, arriving to the doom, death and black (Styles that move with the obscure side of our souls, but they are important for my creative process for they represent the balance point Yin - Yang), but I also have albums of bands as The Doors, Black Crowes and Kraftwerk. In the movies I like directors as Ridley Scott, Coppola, Baiestorf (great Brazilian transgressor), among many other. In my painting largest influences they are the fantastic artists like Fussilli, Blake, Bruegel, Roger Dean, H.R. Giger, Klimt, Schiele, Brom ... already spoke too much to people, but I believe that us artists are influenced by everything that surrounds us, is not alone for the that we liked ... the creative process is a mysterious sphinx! I always say that my works are not made by me, but for a cosmic force that guides me. For me the art involves a process connection with the essence of the universe, we free ourselves of the you tie of the ego!
Does architect formation influence in your works?
The architecture course was a good school to the drawing techniques, there I could explore drawings to the watercolor, gravure, lithograph, picture, graphic computation, besides deepening my knowledge on history of the art. I see the current architecture with a lot of scorn, because with possibilities very inferior techniques to the current ones the men of the past built a much richer architecture than the one today, to return the eyes for the Gothic cathedrals, the Greek temples and the Mayan ceremonial centers! The architecture lost with the vision mechanic that was established in its breast in XX century...is very poor of signs and symbols.
Talk us about your album: "AGARTHA ", what does the title mean?
"AGARTHA " is my more mature work, a comic of 64 pages narrating a man's trajectory on the way to the such questioned " eternal life", a deep reflection on all my questions in relation to the notion of " Paradise post-mortem ", notion that it is diffused about by one without number of sects and doctrines of the world, so much in the east as in the occident. I don't have any pretense of being messianic, just work in the route with a taboo subject for the religious persons, the point where your truths sound unlikely. The name " Agartha " appeared starting from the denomination given by some mystics to a contemplation place, hidden city of the Good, temple of the non participation of the world that would be hidden in the center of the Earth - a type of local paradisiac that it can only be reached by the pure of spirit, the name of the album is more a metaphor of its content. The album was published by the Mark of Fantasy. The reception to the album has been very good on the part of the readers and of the specialized critic.
Which are your work system and materials?
I begin to sketch comics starting from a central idea that flows and it is developed during the elaboration process. The whole sketch is made to pencil (2b and 6b) on paper sulfite or Canson, later I use pens for final art (0,2; 0,4; 0,5; 0,6 and 0,8), fine paintbrushes, white guache and nanquim. In the case of the illustrations and colored comics the materials that more uses are: watercolor, colored pencil, guache, acrilic and Pothoshop software, the paper can be the special for watercolor, Verge or Canson. But I am always trying new materials and techniques, at this moment I use blood for colored some illustrations !
We can see the presence of a strong simbology in your works (clock, butterfly, mushroom, etc.), talk us about its meaning?
The simbology that permeates my work appeared in an intuitive and free way, later I search of the meaning of many of the symbols that appear in my comics and drawnings . I could verify that most of them is the processes from birth and death, working as metaphors of the renaissance and change of an apprenticeship, they symbolize alchemic evolution (the search of Quintessence ). They are archetypes of the collective unconscious. Thank you for the interview, peace and harmony for all !
To see another Edgar Franco's artworks:
Neomaso Prometheus (webcomic)
Edgar Franco's Fotolog
Posthumantantra (Dark Ambient Musical Project)
Av. Melvin Jones, 265 - Santa Ângela -
Poços de Caldas - MG - 37701-274 - BRAZIL