Ritchelly Oliveira is a 21 year-old Brazilian-born illustrator who creates captivating hand-drawn portraits in an aesthetic style at times reminiscent of 1980’s music videos. Oliveira began drawing at age 16. It served as and outlet, and a lens through which the young artist could frame his experiences, relationships,  insecurities, and his personal triumphs.

Oliveira was kind enough to tell us a bit about his work and his process as an artist. To connect with him, head over to his official website at: Ritchelly Oliveira illustrations

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Ritchelly, thanks so much for speaking with us! Your work is stunning. How would you describe the role or the importance of drawing in your life?

Over the years, drawing has become an extension of myself. There are people who keep feelings in memory. For me, drawing allows me to channel emotions into paper. So it is very important for me, not just as an artist, but as a person.

When did you discover this passion?

In childhood. I remember, when I was 8, I began designing shoes, clothes, and other various items. At 10 I wanted to be a fashion designer. At first illustration was just a pastime. Then later, I found myself in the portrait. After my very first breakup, I found that I could channel my emotions into drawing, and so, I guess, found myself as an artist.

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Do you have a favorite artist, whose work might have impressed you?

I have several. Giulia Bersani, Paulette Jo Hsiao Ron Cheng, henrik uldalen, Xhxix, Geelherme Vieira, Monica Piloni, Giovani Caramello, who are artists ranging from photography, drawing, painting and sculpture. They all bring a meaningful depth. Currently I’m quite impressed with the watercolors of Nikolay Tolmachev.


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Your work includes a lot of different portraits, how long does it take you to find the perfect theme to stage the person you are drawing?

Most of my portraits are people close to me. From the beginning I liked to draw a familiar face, so I could connect. At the beginning it was difficult to find people close to illustrate, and sometimes I was looking on the internet, what do was very difficult because I wanted a pose specifies that had a connection to what do I want to convey. Today I have a circle with more people, so I even photograph them, or ask them to photograph for me with my directions. And after I got have more visibility, not only show more about my work, but talk about him, people started coming up to me, saying they identified with the speech of my portraits. From this started a new series of drawings,”Lacunas”, where I’m taking depositions them about their love experiences and turning into drawings.



What’s your approach when it comes to the application of color?

Already some time ago that did not work with more colors. However, when I did, I worked with panpastel, and colored pencil. And finished digitally, in a matter of brightness, skin softening, etc.

How would you describe the word “beauty“ in your own words?

The beauty for me goes beyond visual aesthetics that passes through our eyes. I believe that true beauty is one that passes by our feelings. When a couple in love look into partner’s eyes and says; you are beautiful. He was not speaking of aesthetics, but of what goes on inside. Every feeling that we play in a good way, that’s the real beauty.

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As a young artist you are based in Brazil, how would you describe the upcoming art scene there? Any differences to other countries?

The art market in Brazil for new artists is quite difficult. Make space in art galleries is very complicated. I tried for a long time make space in them for my illustrations, but I didn’t make it. So today my public is more focused on social media, instagram, facebook,., Which has helped a lot by the way. But I believe that this difficulty in the artistic scene is difficult in the early career of any artist. However, most of the works that could in magazines, sites, are out of here. A fact that makes us reflect on certain issues.

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Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions, is there anything else we should know?

I wish I could talk a little bit this my new series, “Lacunas”, I’ve been thinking some time already, and now I’m finally putting into practice, and that for me has become a very nice and honest to do the project.
Lacunas, is a portrait series that started from a desire as an artist, to expand what each individual believes to be the love. During my artistic path, I always showed my anguish, my losses, and how it led to the construction of my process as a portraitist. My affective experiences from an early age had the power to influence me in my emotional growth, creating organically what I consider my art. From that, I felt the need to expand that line so universal that is love.
This series under construction, every invited person has the opportunity to make a statement telling of their love experiences; their losses, their gains, as this feeling was and is able to teach each a unique way. Lacunas, comes in order to be able to inspire people to share their stories, simply and lightly.

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Interview: Ritchelly Oliveira – All images courtesy of the artist