Soak Test

Graffiti Artist André Saraiva on His Process and Patience

A man sitting in an art studio in front of artwork.
Graffiti artist and hotelier André Saraiva in his studio. Photography by Saskia Lawaks.

Does making work feel seminal in process or only after upon revisiting?

When I paint and when I create, it is always very exciting. It does not feel like work for me; it feels like exploring my imaginary world and dreams.

How does patience factor into your practice?

The nature of what I do is mostly being impatient. It’s based on instinct and, as a graffiti artist, always being on the run. But I learned to be patient in my studio practice. It gives me time to explore my different techniques with time and imaginary worlds.

What did you learn from refusing to quit?

My parents, my neighbors, and the police used to tell me to quit, and tried to physically stop me from doing graffiti. I think that’s what gave me the freedom to always do the things I wanted without waiting for permission of others or probation of society. Being an artist is about taking the risk to not please others but to be guided by your need to create and tell stories in your own way. This attitude comes from graffiti, and I’ve applied it to everything I do: nightclubs, hotels, and all types of projects in my life. I never wait for the permission of others, and I am never scared of failure.