Mirassol is anything but urban. Located deep in the country, an hour south of Mato Grosso do Sul, Mirassol is a charming little town, if a bit dusty and far too functional to be quaint. It’s a place of black buzzards and loose dogs, of cows and truck repair, of big families and bigger meals. Neon is scarce and the night sky is gigantic. But Mirassol is the home and canvas of one of southern Brazil’s breakout graffiti talents, Leonardo César “Guimnomo” Francishetti. Guimnomo is a street artist whose creations are composed in bright, almost ceremonial, colors and layers of dark lines. His work is hidden through out the town in parks, abandoned foundations and on the walls of a few lucky friends. Guimnomo’s current style is like a Saturday morning cartoon viewed through a Moroccan kaleidoscope, or a psychedelic trip gone exactly to plan. It is artistically challenging and while simultaneously being kid friendly.
Sitting in the back yard of a friend where his newest creation lives on the exterior wall of an impossibly small home, Guimnomo recounted how children gather around him, seemingly appearing from nowhere, to watch him paint. Later that day, as if to prove his point, children called out to him from a park asking him when he was going to paint something for them, while simultaneously admonishing passers by to “leave our bear in peace.” The bear being another of Guimnomo’s paintings.
Guimnomo started making graffiti in 2008 after a lifetime of scribbling in notebooks. Starting with small black tags painted in vandal tradition, Guimnomo passed through several styles including anime and explosive lettering, before moving into realism and then to his current emphasis on the imagined natural. He sites the Sao Paulo legends Os Gemios and Eduardo Kobra as early influences.
In 2013 Guimnomo got serious. His painting exploded in frequency and quality. Any vandal impulses ended and he began picking up small commissions. Looking at his art, this transition is evident to the viewer. There seems to be a point where his art goes from being the ultimately forgettable experiments of a gifted kid to being something with purpose and power.
As recently as 2014 he was still in search of his style. In quiet corners in Mirassol and São Jose do Rio Preto, Guimnomo hid semi-realistic explorations of single color palates. Soon after Guimnomo’s, now signature, dream animals began showing up on walls and slabs of wood. The city government took notice, asking Guimnomo and his crew to tag some life into drab public spaces. Today you can find Guinomo’s art on the sides of schools, parks and unused public buildings.
Guimnomo is a quiet person with a powerful smile. When asked about the process, Guimnomo related it to walking on a slack line and obtaining physical balance. When asked about the feeling of painting he responded simpler still: “Pleasure.” More than anything else, it is this sense of pleasure that is communicated to the viewer. He could probably leave Mirassol on the back of his art but despite his growing fame, presence on the festival scene and commissions in across Brazil, Mirassol is his home. He still busts his ass at a furniture factory as a day job. He bought a piece of land here, he wants to build on it and he’s starting to think about family. While at the same time his production is accelerating, his murals growing in complication and size.
Guimnomo by Akil Steamship is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.