Mateus Bailon Interview November 2018



Hey Mateus,

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer a few questions for us. I’m guessing we might as well start at the beginning?

UA - Your originally from Santa Catarina in Brazil, what is this place like?

MB - It’s amazing, man! Lots of beaches with great waves for surfing. Theres a lot of natural beauty like waterfalls and the beautiful Atlantic Forest.  


London - Brick Lane


UA - What is your first memory of art being part of your life and what was it that inspired you to become an artist?

MB - I have drawn since I was very very young. Since before I could even talk I guess. I remember when I was a kid my dad used to collect piles of draft paper from his office and bring home for me and that was the best present ever. Better than toys or whatever. So “becoming an artist” sounds a bit weird to me. It all happened naturally, I mean, drawing has always been the purest way to express myself and I think I kinda always knew I was gonna live my whole life drawing and painting.  

London - Brick Lane


UA - Your work seams to look at the connection between humans and nature is this something that is inspired by your childhood and growing up where you did?

MB - Yes, nature is definitely my biggest inspiration. I believe my work is more about my own connection with nature, with what surrounds me. I draw a lot from my imagination and end up using elements from nature to reveal my own nature. Although I’m always looking at images and watching docs about animals and plants, when I draw I like to create my own animals and later look at them and realize they are actually reflections of my own moods and feelings. It’s the best therapy ever lol.

UA - Thats really interesting can you tell us a bit more about this?

MB - As I said they are all reflections of what’s going on with me. And I love to do this exercise of looking back at previous works and learn more about myself.

UA - We typically think of birds when we think of your work what do these represent to you?

MB - You see, ironically I started drawing and painting birds when I was feeling caged. I got my heart broken, I was short on cash and then I started drawing birds out of nowhere and it became an obsession. It took me a while to realize but I was actually drawing and painting what I was seeking for my life. Birds are a powerful symbol of evolution, they travel the world and adapt to the most different conditions. And that’s exactly what I was looking for. I wanted to leave that cage, see the world, seek for evolution and do what I love.  


London - Collaboration with Jimmy C and Rafael Sliks 


UA - You seem to be traveling a lot at the moment is there currently anywhere else in the world that you call home?

MB - In theory I live in Brazil. Problem is that since I moved back to my hometown 3 years ago I’ve been traveling non stop and spending only about 2 months a year at home. So yeah, I guess I’m more like a nomad at the moment. 

Manchester - Stage & Radio (Northern Quarter)


UA - Do you sketch your walls before you paint, the times I’ve seen you paint I dont recall seeing a mock-up or drawing. Do you do much prep or wait to see the space and then see where the mood take you?

MB - I love drawing, so although I usually have a sketch to start I also like to create on the wall. Just like drawing on a sheet of paper. 



Manchester - Stage & Radio (Northern Quarter)


UA - I know your into your Music, and your always listening to something whilst you paint. Does this influence your work/style depending on what your listening to?


Manchester - Shindigger Brewery


UA - So what’s your favourite piece/style of music to paint to then?


MB - At the moment I’m listening a lot to Latin American eletronic music, Brazilian music and 90’s rap as usual.


Manchester - Shindigger Brewery


UA - As you know I’m from Manchester and we recently lost the first piece you painted here (The Guardian of Ancoats) due to the building being demolished as they “regenerated” the area. The Guardian held a special place in the hearts of the locals and was a big loss to the area.... How did this piece come about, and what are your thoughts on not just beautiful art but amazing buildings being destroyed to make way for more and more apartment blocks? 


Manchester - The Guardian of Ancoats 


MB - That piece is definitely special to me. I had a studio in São Paulo back then and one day I was painting and got this e-mail by Ben Barsky inviting me to come and paint. When I saw the pics I was thrilled! That was about to become my biggest wall until then and I said yes without thinking twice. Only problem is that I had to paint it in December and it was freaking freezing. But it was amazing. I was so happy with the city’s response to it! It’s sad seeing buildings like that giving space to more and more of the same apartment blocks. It kills the identity of the cities and affect directly the residents. In my hometown is even worse because they chop the forest down to build stupid skyscrapers.



West Didsbury - The Guardian Returns


UA - I’m guessing this happens everywhere though and you must see this in many of the places you visit. Luckily for us you were invited back not long after by TLMF and the Guardian now nests in Didsbury, can you tell us a bit about this project? 


West Didsbury - The Guardian Returns


MB - That was a beautiful project man. TMLF raise funds for charitable purposes in Matthew Ludlam’s memory. His family said he loved the Ancoats piece and they knew the building was going to get knocked down so they invited me to come and paint a new mural in Matthew’s home town of West Didsbury. For that one I decided to paint the Guardian of Ancoats coming nesting and finding a new home in West Didsbury.


Berlin - For UrbanNation


UA -I’ve just seen pictures of the huge wall you just painted in São Paulo are there any other big walls or exhibitions you have planned this year?

MB - Nothing as big as that one lol, I’ve just had a solo show in Vienna at Rabbit Eye Movement and for next year only group shows planned so far. 


Manchester - BoxYard


UA - I’ve seen a few pieces where you have worked in collaboration with Nychos which worked well as your styles complemented each other.
Who... if you could choose anyone, would be your perfect partner for a wall?

MB - Ah so many, man. Friendship is definitely the most important thing about collaborations. It’s always a pleasure to paint with friends. 


Manchester - BoxYard


UA - Last of all.....
What is it you love most about being able to showcase your artwork in the streets?

MB - Painting walls gave me the opportunity to see the world, learn and see life from a different perspective.  




UA x




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