Antonio Heleno
Originally from Brazil, he was born in the seventies, at the height of the dictatorship, to a Portuguese father and a Brazilian mother. He grew up in the heart of the oriental area of São Paulo - a neighbourhood formed by Korean, Chinese and a larger population of Japanese immigrants. As a result, this area was popularly known as the “Japanese Borough”, forming the basis of his artistic background and providing the opportunity to experience the local culture and artistic expression, combined with Brazil’s very own cultural heritage - a rich mix of native Indian, European and African. While in Brazil he worked as an actor from the age of seven into his teens, developing a great interest for "backstage work" and performance arts in general, as well as attending craft classes. Working in theatre gave an insight into different art forms as well as the materials and processes used to create and make scenography. Most of all, it provided a professional direction and ambition which later resulted in his arrival in Europe in 1989. His Portuguese heritage provided him with an opportunity to study in Europe and he chose England, aiming to establish residence in the cosmopolitan city of London. He was awarded a BA in Theatre Design at St Martin’s School of Art & Design, followed by an MA at the prestigious Slade School of Art completed in 1999. As a theatre designer, he worked only with acrylic paint in order to produce a fast way to express his ideas as well as the large number of drawings for sets, costumes, history boards and technical drawings that a theatre production demands He has experimented with other types of painting materials but feels more comfortable with acrylics and remains loyal to this medium. He has worked as a set and costume designer for various Operas, Theatre, Dance and Film productions in the past and now dedicates his time to fine art painting.He has also taken part in group exhibition, art fairs, online magazines and catalogues. Most recently, his work was published in the September 2017 issue of "Wotisart?" magazine and he also took part at the "#33 Annual Open Exhibition" at the CGP Gallery in London. His works resonates with “abstract concrete art” and derives from this style. His work is distinguishable by a mono-colour background depicting shapes and linear characters, forming contrasting structural modules of various textures. Although his work has an undeniable architectural characteristic, it also resembles logographs found in oriental calligraphy, perhaps echoing visual impressions obtained in his early childhood.