Bak 17 Is Online!
'Face', 17th issue of Bak Magazine, is now online! Sit back, relax and enjoy!


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Interviews in Bak | 11
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Dado Queiroz
Graphic Designer { }
Dado Queiroz

You were born in one of the most important cities of Southern Brazil, Curitiba whose motto is "A Cidade Sorriso" ("The Smiley City"). How do you feel about your homeland? What comes to your mind first when you try to remember your childhood?

I've been in São Paulo for six months now, but I like my hometown a lot, despite such politically driven mottos. The one you mention is one out of several that sprung in the past decades. And it's a particularly ironic one, since the citizens there are generaly known for not beeing very much opened to outcomers. Perhaps they were trying to say that it's more likely for a smile to crack open in the middle of the city than to someone actually be nice to you for no particular reason... But no, they're not that bad, actually. Curitiba is regarded as a close rendition of a developed country's city, but that seems a bit exagerated to me. Nevertheless, the city has a history of well planned development, which made its public transportation system to be considered one of the best in the world. It also has an official waste recycling policy since 1989, if I'm not mistaken. Very nice accomplishments, in my opinion.

When thinking of my childhood, the first thing that comes to mind is me wandering around the house. I stayed a lot inside, playing with all that stuff, that weren't really toys, lay on the big house we used to live in. It was nice. But I used to go out on the street a lot too. At the very least, I went out way more often than I see kids alone in the streets today. Guess they're not as safe anymore, or parents have become more paranoid. Or both.

Typography is a big part of your life. You have great skills in playing with letters, fonts and words. In this manner, visual and typographic choices of which brands do you like most and which one of them would you go for changing first, if you have a chance?

I'm glad you think that, thank you! I like Young & Rubicam's Y&R monogram a lot. The uppercase letters of that font, Radio, are really beautiful. I was actually thinking of this logo the other day. Even though it might be seen as a great honor for a type designer to have one of his fonts as the official typeface for such a large group, I wonder if Thirstype will ever sell much more licenses of it, since other agencies and studios probably avoid it, trying not to evoke one of their competitor's look. But that's just me speculating on strange subjects while stuck in São Paulo's unbelievable daily traffic jam!

One logo I'd like very much to change is the current brazilian's government one. I really can't stand looking at it. I'm not sure it's a job I would take, though, because of its obvious political implications.

Now, you are 28 years old. It's a great age for a person's life but time is passing rapidly and it's impossible to slow it down. Do you have any big plans, for which you say "I won't die before I do that"?

No, not really. Not today. My life has changed significant and unexpectedly a little more than a year ago, and my priorities are way mixed up, as I still haven't been able to sort it all out (yeah, I know, I'm a bit slow...). I guess the closest to an answer would be travelling. Not a big plan, but I certainly want to know many more places before I die. And to live. Sometimes I go out at lunch time and think "look at this sun! I'm spending all these healthy years of my life behind a computer screen 10 hours a day" and, as you pointed out, time isn't exactly slowing down... Boy, these are strange years. If someone comes to you and ask "what's your big plan?" and you answer "to live a little", something is deffinetily wrong! Oh, and write. I've been having more pleasure writing than designing lately, as you can probably see from the amount of lines each answer is taking, So I'll add the very little original "write a book" to the list.

Imagine that you have got a limitless budget and you are going to build a typography museum. What kind of building would it be? What do we see inside as visitors? And what will its name be?

Cool! I would probably ask Frank Gehry for a project. Or make an architectural contest, since Gehry already had his share of nice juicy projects. As a reflection of my typographic beliefs I would ask for a building very much layered and "post modern" intersected with another, as clean and slim as it could be — for some reason I think the first should be taller and the second more horizontal, with just a couple floors. And the inside would be a mid term, style wise. And please, no letter shaped architectural features! Let the building be a building. But, of course, it's not so cool to give such a closed briefing to another creative professional...

The focus of the collection and its presentation should be first on letterforms, and type as expression, so that non-initiated people can get interested. Then move on into type systems, history and all that. Wait, you said limitless budget? Hell, then let's build one in each continent, with a global section and a more locally driven one in each of them. Let's call Rudy Vanderlans and ask him to point out who should curate the whole thing, since I'm no type scholar — yeah, he isn't exactly either, but he sure as hell know many, and I trust his judgement on the subject. About the name, we should be generous with our sponsor and use his own. Sounds fair, right? The John Doe Type Museum...

Does music change your mood while working? Does it directly reflect to your artistic creations sometimes?

Yeah, absolutely. I especially remember when I first started listening to a particular indie band, that sounded somehow happier and more easy going than the ones I was used to at the time, and my first saturated colored backgrounds came to life. It also helps me to control my inner speed, so to speak. There are times for more intense, fast tunes, if I'm too sleepy, just as there are times for more easy listening ones, if I'm too anxious.

Brazil is just like the synonym of football. One of our previous guest artists, a Corinthians fan Adhemas Batista told us that he saw almost all the games in World Cup 2006 and another Brazilian artist Nelson Balaban said "It's such an obligation to show some quality at football if you are Brazilian". What do you think about this beautiful game? Are you a fan of Curitiba based teams such as Atletico Paranaense or Parana Clube?

I like football a lot. It's the only sport I really enjoy watching or playing. I'm an Atlético Paranaense, a.k.a. Furacão (Hurricane), fan. As a teenager, I went to almost literaly every Atletico game and was kind of obsessed. If they lost, I would spend days in a bad mood. Luckily I'm more independent now but, to be honest, I currently know way less about the team's recent doings than I'd like to admit.

Adhemas is a Corinthias fan? Too bad for him, they just suffered a major downgrade in the brazilian championship. Too bad for an estimated 30 million fans, actually. But it'll do them good in the long term, I think, as such a hit will make them see there undeniably IS a problem. And that it must be solved if they want the team to be as great as their fan base again. It might be better than spend another 10 years procrastinating solutions, in true brazilian fashion.

Rio de Janeiro based Brazilian graphic designer Gui Borchert had shared his ideas with us in the 2th issue of Bak Magazine and said "I believe that art and design can be very powerful ways to make a difference in the world". Do you agree with that statement? In what ways can design and typography change the world?

Gui certainly uderstands the impacts of mass scale design much more than I do, given the magnitude of the projects he's been involved with, so it would be unwise for me to dispute his statement. Of course graphic design, as a mediation of information, stands in a crucial position. However, I don't see this position as beeing one of making a great deal of social change. I mean, it could be, but we all know stories of how big decisions are made in this field, and they rarely end up in a graphic designer's desk. It's more like designers have the ability to refuse to make things worse, but, in my oinion, it goes a long way before coming to the point of making an actual difference. Art is another story, as is any kind of initiative detached from big amounts of money. Typography, on the other hand, seems to me the least likely to provide real change in the world. It's a very important and useful tool, of course, but not at all a player in itself.

Which artists, web sites or books have most influenced your own artistic efforts?

As a teenager, some mainstream comic book artists and dutch engraver M.C. Escher. Then came the masters, like Rembrandt, Caravaggio and so on. From the avant garde movements, I'm a big fan of Mondrian and Dada/Futurist type treatments. I'm also very much into constructivist theories of non-representative forms. I often use pictures in a non-pictoric way — because of its forms and colors, not of whatever is represented. In college, Carson's work caused an impact I never felt again to date. I actually dislike, say, 75% of his work. But the remaining speak very truely to my heart. Which is funny, if you think that, unlike me, David's motto is something like "don't care for how it looks like, but how it feels like in relation to the subject." Very un-constructivist. Rudy Vanderlans also had a huge impact on me, not only design wise, but in other ways too, for his design is inseperable from the whole aura surrouding Emigre's existence (not to mention he's a damn good writer/editor). I'm very much fond of initiatives like Emigre, that have very little relation to the mainstream or market expectations, that are made out of love for the craft or art, and that are sustainable — otherwise they can't be taken seriously. There's also Ed Fella. He's the master. Brazilian Eduardo Recife and german THS struck a nerve, too. I'm currently trying to get more contemporary references though, in which task my current partner in the "living dead" estudiocrop, Renan Molin, always helps a lot, as he's younger than me and way more in line with the recent boom of styles in illustration and design.

Are you interested in cinema? What kind of movies and which film directors do you find closer to yourself, in terms of visual comprehension?

I'm interested in it as much as any other guy. Of course I probably pay a bit more attention to opening sequences, photography and stuff, but other than that, I'm an average blockbuster movies fan. As such, I have no deep knowledge of the subject, which is a shame, for it's a very rich medium. I usually like films that seems, to me, to balance a mainstream appeal with some independent characteristics. Nice examples would be Snatch, Pulp Fiction and brazilian Cidade de Deus (City of God).

"(In my childhood), I used to go out on the street a lot, too. At the very least, I went out way more often than I see kids alone in the streets today. Guess they're not as safe anymore, or parents have become more paranoid. Or both."

- Dado Queiroz / Bak 11
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