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The Void is many things, but it is never nothing, raising an interesting philosophical point about the nature of nothing and the ontological paradox of nothing,...
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João Oliveira An interview with XIV: Fable's featured artist
Despite having only a years experience at the helm, João had taken the community by storm with his unique approach to art and styles. Recently winning MTV's 'Take Action, Make Art' competition, João continues to break down barriers and prove that experience doesn't count half as much as a young, fresh and creative mind does.
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The Interview

João Oliveira, more commonly known online as biomachina, has quickly emerged as one of the most fresh, innovative and creative talents in the digital art community.

Despite having only a years experience at the helm, João had taken the community by storm with his unique approach to digital art and multiple styles.

Recently winning MTV's 'Take Action, Make Art' competition, João continues to break down barriers and prove that experience doesn't count half as much as a young, fresh and creative mind does.

Evoke's Stefan D'Allesandro brings you this interview with this remarkable designer.

Stefan D'Allesandro:
You'd be considered a late starter for one who has come so far in the digital art world - starting in late 2006, what got you into digital art?

João Oliveira
Well, it all started with my quest for earning my own money, I discovered that I could be paid for designing logotypes and websites so I started exploring Photoshop and actually get some money, during that time I got used to all the tools and started experimenting, gained some experience and knowledge to be able to that take the next step: digital art / design. After that it was all about motivation to achieve higher stages.

2006 was a year of discoveries for me, I was in high school studying sciences and from one day to another decided to take the art exams and enter in a design college, since them my appetite for art and design has been growing and here I am!

Stefan D'Allesandro
What have been your main influences in this time?

João Oliveira
Everything and anything, my creativity is constantly being feed by all kinds of stimulations, from a single word to a song and certainly from other artists, anything is plausible to be used as a concept or idea.

Stefan D'Allesandro
Your style is one of the most varied out there - ranging from pieces such as 'The Electro Garde' - with its abstract 3d feel, to strokes of brilliance in "The Newcomer" which almost looks as if it were a traditional piece turned digital. Do you have a preferred style or medium to work with?

João Oliveira
Illustrations like the ones i made for this pack, definitely, I feel a huge sense of freedom when I do them, full control of colors, shapes, compositions and strokes but my style is always changing and evolving, many of you might have noticed the radically different approach I took in the previous pack, that's what I always seek to do.

Right now im developing an increasing interest in traditional collages combined with typography and digital graphics, I think you will have a chance to see it in the next pack, stay tunned!

Also im currently studying 3D (Maya) in college so ill definitely make good use of it in a near future, my style is very eclectic and I get easily bored if I use the same style over and over again so I just move on when that happens.

Stefan D'Allesandro
Tell us about one of your latest masterpieces - the aptly named 'An African Fable' - what was the concept behind this piece and how did it come to fruition?

João Oliveira
First thing I thought when I saw the exhibition's theme was the word "Africa", I had to design something with this word as a concept so I started sketching some ideas, the concept is pretty relative and intentionally vague, the mysterious monkey face is very expressive and consequently emotional, it invites the viewers to create their own fables in their heads.

About the development, I wanted something visually strong and emotive to express the African ambiance, from the strong colors and contrasts to the raw strokes, that's my vision of Africa.

I had the monkey face in my head since the beginning so it had to be the main focus of the piece, next I created various vector illustrations, from trees to random shapes, messed them up, arranged and rearranged them until i got a stable composition, after that comes the final step: detailing, fixing the composition, adding a typo and doing the post-work in Photoshop. Voilá.

Stefan D'Allesandro
You recently won the MTV's Take Action... Make Art (TAMA) competition (in conjunction with HP computers) - what was that like as an experience, and how does it feel to have your winning piece sold as an official HP skin?

João Oliveira
Oh man, it's like a dream, Im so glad about my design being sold all over the world, it's an unique chance to being exposed internationally and I hope it opens some doors for my future as a designer! Having the chance to meet the team of HP designers and have my portfolio being seen by both MTV and HP designers is awesome, im really excited about the outcome of this experience.

The trip to Tokyo and Kyoto is equally exciting, never thought to be able to travel to Japan so soon in my life, hell, it's my dream trip and it is happening!

Stefan D'Allesandro
Any advice for the beginners out there striving for a break?

João Oliveira
Experiment, experiment and experiment, it's my main advice.

Try new things, integrate your previous experiments with the newer ones, search for new styles, feed your visual culture by looking at art / design pieces in a regular basis, practice a lot, be patient, do not expect a 15 minutes piece to be good, spend the necessary time and believe you can do it, trust me, it works.

Stefan D'Allesandro
In my opinion, everybody looks up to or has looked up to somebody - who are your idols or inspirations, not only as a digital artist, but as a person?

João Oliveira
It's hard to give you my list of inspirational artists, there's so many, from the amazing illustrations of Matei Apostolescu (Beacoupzero) to the works of Theo Aartsma (Sumeco), the list is huge.

Idols? Not really, honestly I don't have any idol, sorry folks!

Stefan D'Allesandro
Any plans for the future?

João Oliveira
Definitely, Im currently taking a degree in Communication Design so my first objective is to finish it, after that, who knows? Im really optimistic about my professional future, more and more offers are coming up everyday, I would love to work in a big design agency or even open my own one, ill let it roll, things will come and as long as I have fun doing what I do everything is fine!

Stefan D'Allesandro
And finally, what is your ideal working environment when you're making your art, if you have one?

João Oliveira
Interesting question, never really thought about it but I need a relaxed environment to be able to create art, combine some good music and some space to draw my sketches and that's all I need, guess Im not a very demanding person!

Stefan D'Allesandro
Dalla's 10 Question Pop Quiz:
1. Favourite Food?
2. Do you think you're sexy?
3. Pepsi or Coke?
4. Paris Hilton or Nicole Richie?
5. Favourite band or musical artist?
6. Blonde or Brunette?
7. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
8. Favourite Sport?
9. Mac or PC?
10. What is your current homepage?

João Oliveira
1. A strange plate called "Empadão de atum", it's like a cake of rice and tuna mixed with triturated breed and egg, both in the top. Call me if you want the recipe, haha.
2. Sexy? Wanna bite?
3. Coke
4. Haha, tough one, Nicole Richie
5. Tool
6. Brunette
7. Tokyo
8. Football
9. Mac
10. Blank

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