Born and bred in Belo Horizonte, Brazilian artist Dalata proudly paints the streets of his home in Minas Gerais. “I prefer to be in my city, and I know where I can and cannot paint,” he explains. “I’ve been influenced by the things that live near me but the Internet is a great feast for those who make art. Much of my inspiration comes from talking about research on web forums.”As a child, Dalata drew constantly. “I remember some engravings of a surrealist artist named Arcimboldo,” he recalls. “One way or another, they stuck in my memory and indirectly influenced my work.” Back in 1997 a friend introduced him to graffiti. “At first, most of my fears were about aesthetics, quality of work, and style.” Through meticulous research and fearless experimentation, Dalata developed his own signature style.
In addition to his own efforts, he credits his friends with supporting his projects. “I had a crew at the beginning of my journey and they helped me come up with my name,” he adds. “Now, I don’t really like crews. I just paint with my friends.”
Brazil’s streets are no joke, but Dalata finds them welcoming. “I paint in very derelict places and I come across many drug users living in the streets,” he says. “I rarely have problems, though, because they respect graffiti a lot. Here in Brazil, the law is fairly tolerant of graffiti. When I paint, I always pick places where I can make up an alibi and paint without permission. One of my favorite projects was a wall painting, which was unauthorized. It wasn’t in a parking lot but in downtown BH. I arrived with a safety ladder and began to paint. When somebody asked me what I was doing, I said I was the guy there to do the work. The rest is history!”
Dalata plans on leaving his mark for years to come. “In my work, I want to show a bit of the world I believe exists,” he insists. “Street art is the greatest manifestation of freedom and expression. My art is a way to draw attention to the positive things I want to convey.”
Thanks, Dalata! View more of his collection at his Flickr. I'm off to enjoy warm weather, the company of good friends, and food in my front yard. Whatever you do this weekend, I hope you enjoy it!