The “Track Light” series serves to briefly introduce a number of individuals involved
with the One World Artist Gallery (OWAG) from their various places around the globe.
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Today, I talk with graffiti and street artist André Perreira (Acer).
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John: So, André– how did you get into art and graffiti/street art?
André: It started when I first began art school and met some big names in the portuguese graffiti scene at the time. This was around ’98/’99, at António Arroio, which is the best art school in Portugal! Most of those artists aren’t even active anymore, but I remember the names of Capone, Hel, Res and few others that were pretty strong in the scene back then.
John: What’s your memory of your first piece?
André: I have memories of my first attempts, but the biggest memory I carry with me is from when I entered my first “wall of fame” in 1999 along with some artists I admired.
John: So why do street artists use tags instead of their birth names to identify themselves?
André: In the graffiti scene all (graffiti) writers have a tag, which becomes their identity. Once the “street art” movement became part of the picture all that changed. So it’s all a matter of where you come from. I stick to my tag (alter-ego) of Acer because my background is as a graffiti writer.
John: Why did you choose Acer as your tag?
André: Acer came from the word “Ace” and also just mixing up letters from my name. My friends picked it up and started to call me by it, so it stuck.
John: Haha, simple enough. What’s the street art scene like in Portugal? Do you travel much to do work?
André: Portugal has a very strong street art scene right now with many local artists getting their work recognized all over the world. I travel a lot, but that’s mostly for modeling and acting jobs.
John: Who do you usually collaborate with? And who (or what) are some of your artistic inspirations?
André: I have to say the members of my crew Zk’s are both my partners and my biggest inspiration.
John: What about modeling? How did you get into that?
André: Well, I started modeling for fun and to get some extra cash, because when we got hit by the financial crisis I couldn’t afford any longer to live only from my art. But soon I realized I had potential to do much more and became a professional international model and actor working around the world.
John: Nice! Sometimes what looks like a setback is really a kick in the ass to move forward, right? I actually had the same experience running a small black-box theatre in Manhattan. We shut it down around Christmas of ’98 and I left for South Korea, which launched the rest of my life’s work, really.
André: Failure is part of life; only when you fall down will you be able realize how strong you are to get back up. My advice to younger artists is to be true to yourself, find what you love and stick to it all the way… see and try different things, get inspired and keep developing your style and identity.
John: Right on. So who is the woman in the DrawBag you did up?
John: It’s a beautiful piece. So what music are you listening to these days?
John: And how can someone connect with you?