ADRIANA DE BARROS : POETRY FROM PORTUGAL
: : español : :
Adriana de Barros is a graphic designer and the co-owner of a clothing company, for which she also designs clothes. She is the founder of an e-zine about cinema, art, music and literature, Scene 360. She also writes poetry and shows part of her literary and graphic work in her personal protfolio, breathewords.
H2o Magazine : Name, age and current occupation?
P1X : Adriana de Barros, 26, Co-owner of a Clothing Company and an advertisement designer.
H2o Magazine : When and why did you start designing?
P1X : I started designing when I was a kid. I only became involved with art at a later age of 12. I was heavily involved in practising sports in school, and that was my main focus. Until then, I'm sure no one would guess that I would be doing what I am today as a designer, or would they think I had a pint of talent for the arts. I ended up having a duo love of art and sports, and it was difficult to choose in school which area to proceed for a career. I followed "art" in high school, because I didn't want to become a coach or gym teacher, but an athlete -- so it made my decision lean toward art for a career. As I have always liked various art forms and disciplines, when I got older my passions grew further into cinema and art; bringing me to another decision. I wanted to do both. I had begun a Filmmaking course in Lisbon, which ended up going badly as the school messed up with schedules, among other things. So I was forced to quit because it wasn't working, and at the time I was already working part-time at my parents clothing stores (actually since I was 14, I've been working part-time with my family's businesses while I was in school, so "working" wasn't a problem); I made the best out of the situation for a temporary position until I restarted with school. Two years later, we opened a copy-center diverging from our other stores, and I became the manager of this section and I worked on developing our company to new heights in advertisement design. Unexpectedly, it happened. I became a designer because it was part of my vocation, although it's not solely in my path of life. And one of my childhood dreams of creating my own brand name and logotypes became a reality last year (2002), when we co-founded a clothing company called "Baby Pins" (directed for teens to women), and I do much of the fashion design work. The brand was created years ago and the clothing line was implemented in our existing stores of Silver Company, so when it became an independent store....it was surreal seeing such a goal accomplished. I'm happy with much of my experience in exploring different areas of advertisement and design. And as a hobby I've learnt programming and Web designing, and I'm planning on taking some courses this year to better my programming skills.
H2o Magazine : What type of design do you feel more comfortable with?
P1X : I like working with designs for transfer-prints, i.e. making the actual designs for serigraphy for t-shirts and clothing. Clothing is becoming a norm now and something I like to do, in addition to logo design, digital, and vector work. Also, web designing I truly love to do.
H2o Magazine : What do you intend to express through your work?
P1X : I intend to express ideas, morals/opinions, wake up society and make people think more about the world around them and themselves. Approach subject matters that are important to me, which can be from a wide range, such as relationships with family and friends to just walking down the street and seeing something that can make a good theme. I want to make my "message" clear in my artwork -- and I use a lot of poetry in it. Obviously, interpretations of pieces diverge from the readers/viewers, however, they can view the work as they see it, and that is interesting to exchange thoughts and listen to. I.e. How people relate to objects, art, words,... I'm completely fine with different interpretations. Even though, I do include a message within my work, which is the key to my own exploring. I like asking questions in my artwork, life is about searching for answers, but we spend much of the time questioning. Art has a good kick on understanding more within us. I simply try to avoid "slapping" something on for the sake of it, because I like to make sense of what I do. Even if it is an unconscious act of writing or painting which later becomes a therapeutic piece to help me overcome my problems and issues in life. It can be symbolic, and that's what I'm usually about. Sometimes my work is simple and direct, as other times it's not as easily read because I use metaphors -- life is about reading between the lines and the surface.
For my actual commercial work, I have to study the subject at hand, make the product come across with impact of its message, and use marketing skills to use both design with aesthetic appeal and functionality. Basically, I think I apply the same way to both artwork and actual work, but of course sometimes I can be more at ease and not analyse everything I do with artwork...just try to paint without any initial plan, and work I try to make it more thought out because it's not just for me but for a client.
H2o Magazine : Do you believe in the "power" of Internet as a mass media?
P1X : Yes, I do. I believe a platform this open to millions of people worldwide has great power. It can be used for good and for bad purposes. I try to use the benefits of it to share my work, collaborate with talented artists and writers, and also get to know other people from different cultures with easy access. Because without the Internet it was more difficult to make this connection due to geographical boundaries. I think a person can do many amazing things online, if they want to.
H2o Magazine : Talk to us about Scene 360.
P1X : What can I say about Scene 360? We are always working on it, it's a non-stop dedication. I sometimes need a vacation, but haven't taken one yet. As I keep telling myself, "You need to take a break to recharge your batteries!" and I then I get into more fascinating ideas, and just do more stuff. Like recently I made calls for "Love Within Us" (our first digital love book), a sudden idea that came to me. I love this project (360), so a lot is based on personal passions in film, art, literature, and music...and that explains much of why I do what I do. Also, having found other people within the same interest has been wonderful to improving this project with a solid editorial team.
We are also planning some new things for this spring/summer, which will be a surprise (shhh!). And I'm currently working on a design competition with another zine, so stay connected!
H2o Magazine : About Portugal, what can you say about your country's design?
P1X : I have a lot to say about this. It could be enough for a 10 page article, maybe I should write one. I think a lot is wrong here, but that is due to mentality and education. I am sometimes unaware of the community here, of events, or anything for that matter. I'm more in tune with international events, since I'm usually informed quite frequently of them, and familiar with some for that reason. Just to express my disappointment, I got an email some time ago about an Web design event in Portugal, and they asked for a mention at 360, I asked about the event, in hopes of maybe going to it, but I never got a reply, nor have I ever gone to one in Portugal...seems ironic, because I'm curious to see the design here. But hey, if they don't promote or welcome these events to the general audience, instead of just inviting big-corporation-site-firms presentives, then what is the point? I think combining new talents/designers from different parts of our country, and corporations is great for more exchange on various levels. This way viewers who go to the event, can actually see what is going on in new in technologies and view digital work from Portugal. Besides the arts, it's the same overall in other fields, there is unfortunately a lack of support or encouragement for young people (or even those whom are unknown -- whatever the age is, someone who has stepped over to innovating in some big way). It's important to push talents of our country forward, but no, I don't really see much happening, unless you get famous internationally and then they remember that person exists (it's happened many times before, e.g. a Portuguese journalist who was chosen for news anchor on CNN, who is now a renown journalist, and wasn't even given a chance in Portugal. He was determined to work in this field, and his talent was surely visible, so he compeated in the US to get a position...and he must be excellent to obtain that job in the US with actual American journalists there. And now, they brought him on a talk show to speak of this - he stated some of his challenges to reach where he is today, and how in Portugal there wasn't much of an acceptance, but now there seems to be after having accomplished what he has). The hard truth is basically this at times, of course there are a few exceptions, but exceptions aren't the majority of anything. I personally think a lot needs to improve, I see many talented artists here...and I also see other neighbor countries such as Spain, which does encourage and promote much more their own nationality and talents. I'm not going to complain without helping about this... meaning I am from Portugal, I have two nationalities, but I have featured Portuguese sites, I make note that I'm from here. It's visible, I actually know some designers from here; I have exchanged notes to some who've encountered 360, and there are people out there and not just in big firms with super-star designers. I've even showcased work from artists here (my criteria isn't country-based but by skills and talent, so there have been Portuguese artists). What can I do to change this? Alone, possibly nothing. I will continue to try my best to support what I can here, although I hope things improve on a general scale with more awareness and a change of perspective to seeing that we have as many good things here as any other country, and we do have what it takes - its a matter of seeing that and uniting.
H2o Magazine : What do you think of women's role in design?
P1X : I don't really think about gender when I design. I do what I do, and I like working with both men and women. What I care about are other aspects, like talent, skills, responsibility, etc...things which I look for when collaborating or working -- professional characteristics. I'm aware though, that sometimes women get less recognition online (I won't be that naive), or there are less in this technology field, or maybe they take less risks in zines and design sites. There must be some statistics in regard to some of the whys. But I know many women online, some friends and many I know quite well and we are on equal terms with the rest of the community. I think this gender issue should not be such an issue. I used to see sites overly dominated with guys, I don't know the exact reasons, maybe there are more guys in this design community, or more friends within friends and that's how they team up, or other....doesn't make a difference the reason. Either way, if you want to find a talented person (whatever the gender) you can find that person. I don't think one should be evaluated based on their sex, but their abilities. And nor does a site need to be ALL this or ALL that. I have balanced 360 with talented artists and writers (and that's how I view it). There are so many artists out there, and if you look well enough you can find talented people in any country. So I don't think women should feel at a disadvantage at all (because things are not like that as much anymore, and if you don't allow it to be one, then it won't be a disadvantage), believe in yourself, in your project and take some risks! It's the same for everyone (you too guys)!
H2o Magazine : How do you imagine your future?
P1X : With a lot of bumpy roads (this question is funny in a sense, because I've been asked this frequently, and each time I know less of the future). The future is very unpredictable, even "tomorrow" is unpredictable. Now-a-days nothing is signed in coal, a lifetime job doesn't really exist, and one day you think you have things worked out, and BAM you are in a national recession, and nothing that you can change solely on your own. What I'm going to answer is, I will keep believing in my dreams no matter what happens, and I will try my hardest to follow them. You are never too old to believe in your dreams, and this is very important to me. I would like to be successful in what I do, and I hope art, cinema and literature are constantly a part of my life. I think being a designer will continue for the next years, but I'd like to do more, such as write a book, among a few other goals of mine. I don't want to regret not having done certain things in my life, but I do know a lot is a matter of timing, and me feeling ready for it, so I will try to accomplish the most I can within this lifetime (smile).
H2o Magazine : HTML or flash?
P1X : Both. I like Flash for sites, because you don't need a rotation of browser pages, it allows you to stay within one page. And it's quite amazing what one can do with Flash. I really dig the cinema-effect it can provide (i.e. animation, movement...). I've done many visual poems in Flash, and HTML cannot replace it for the cinematic-edge it creates. But HTML is important to me to reach many viewers and platforms, and it depends on the type of site I'm creating. I still believe for "content" sites (this is my present opinion), that HTML is simple and easier for reading than on a Flash site. I like both as I say, it's a matter of what I'm doing and what it's for, many times I combine the two (as they can complement each other as well).
H2o Magazine : What are your three most visited web sites?
P1X : This is going to sound amusing, but I visit the English dictionary plenty of times per day (http://www.m-w.com/dictionary.htm). I'm usually writing and have a habit of checking the dictionary a lot. I check my own site everyday to see if it's still up and fine, so that would be one, although (laugh), I'm not going to count it in, I must choose three party sites. I check Gavin's site, The Designers Network Forum (http://forum.designers-network.com/index.cgi; see how everyone is doing, and what new posts are up; it's very useful for design help), and lately I've been going to read Jen Eng's blog called Mosspink (http://www.mosspink.com; it's simple not a big site, and I just like reading about daily stuff with wit and humor). I'm suppose to say 3, but here is 4, DIK (http://www.designiskinky.net/; one of my favorite zines for sticking to their thing, keeping the news cozy and the features simple too).
Mª Carmen Trevijano Moreno