In the Anjos area in Lisbon, going up the rua Triangulo Vermelho you come across an art gallery, or rather, an art platform, which is dedicated to the promotion of visual artists, but which, above all, has as its mission being a place of meeting and cultural and artistic exchange, of course.
We are welcomed by the two creators of this place and this project, as well as the soul of this place: Vital Lordelo Neto and Julia da Costa.
As soon as you enter, the love for art is tangible, not only for the works of different artists on the walls or in the catalogs, but above all for the atmosphere that Vital and Julia have been able to create, conveying their great passion for art and their life as artists, in this project, born concretely in 2019: Joia, “orivesaria dos sentimentos” (jewelry of sentiments)
The name derives from their first space, in the Baixa of Lisbon, which they had installed in an ancient jewelry shop and hence the idea of the name Joia (joy). But as the title of their project says, the jewels that are sold here are very special: they are the emotions that the artist transmits through their works.
But let’s get to know Vital and Julia more closely.
Vital is Brazilian, from Brasilia. He was about 20 years old, when he moves to the south of the country, to Portalegre, a place of great colonization and many cultural influences, that his career as an artist begins. He also studied for a while advertising and journalism, and he arrives in Lisbon in 2016 already with an important artist background. When he arrived in Lisbon, Vital was working on a really interesting project on feelings and emotions, conveyed through the art of illustration, on posters. The support is not accidental: the desire to use a support that is normally exhibited on the street shows his desire to communicate with people and bring art within everyone’s reach. And talking about emotions and feelings is because it is increasingly difficult to be able to express what you feel and even less to communicate it to others. Vital tells us that the pandemic has certainly made all this even more complicated and that the need to communicate with others is very relevant and the road is certainly the best stage to leave this message.
When Vital arrived in Lisbon he had already made 18 posters of the 30 which today counts the project that has been going on for nine years. And that he still has a lot to tell.
In 2019 his experience as an artist and his contact with the city of Lisbon, which Vital defines as an excellent place for meeting and exchange between cultures, led him to the idea of creating Joia. Knowing the difficulties of an artist who arrives in a new place or who decides to undertake his artistic path, the idea is to create an environment that detaches itself from a usual art gallery and that rather wants to be a concrete reference, on the territory, in which to exhibit, but also in which to be oriented.
In 2020 Julia also arrives in Joia. French from Vichy, she arrives in Portugal to learn the language in 2016. Her journey has led her on two parallel tracks, art and psychology, which today merge in her works. Julia, arrived in Lisbon, dedicates herself to a project of drawing, sketches of the city, which between the pages of a notebook comes to life in a union of words and images that gives rise to a work with which she participates in the important artistic event “Rendez-vous du carnet de voyage”. She will restart with another work the following year after an experience in New York.
But her psychology studies make themselves felt and Julia begins to create works centered on the analysis of emotions.
And it is in 2019 that the way of Julia and Vital cross. As artists first, then as life companions.
Joia’s project has grown a lot in recent years: 50 artists and 8 different countries are represented here. But the great innovation of this project is its basic idea that differentiates it from a normal art gallery. Joia is a space to grow, as Vital himself tells me.
When the project started there was no idea of transporting it on a virtual level, but also due to the pandemic the things have changed and, with the help of Julia, today Joia is a physical place, but also a virtual space, in addition to also counting with a tattoo studio, an illustration agency and an online magazine, Frestas (cracks) born during the pandemic, to ensure that from those cracks through which we had to wade into the world for months, today we can look at the art and the works of the artists here represented.
The artists in Joia’s project are all local artists, of different origins but all linked to the Lusitanian city in which they live. Joia takes care of exhibiting their works but above all she takes care of them: to guide them, to advise them.
But Joia’s message is a message that goes even further. Art first of all, as a choice of life, as a message for everyone.
What today is also a job for Vital and Julia, in reality ends up being a real mission. Their priority is art and living on art. And whoever joins this project as an artist must feel the same. There is no space for those who see art only as a pastime or as a means of making money. First of all, art must be at the center of an artist’s life, it is the artist himself who must believe that one can live in art and that one must devote oneself to art. Only those who share this thought and this way of life, they can fully appreciate this project and become part of it.
Vital and Julia live it as a real mission and dedicate themselves to this body and soul. And not only to the platform they have created and to the guidance of the artists who are part of it, but also to the dissemination of art itself.
The idea of creating this physical space is also to allow everyone to take advantage of the art they offer. Those who enter this space can enter to buy, of course, and it is always a good investment because as Vital and Julia tell us “a work of art on our walls is like a new window” that allows us to look at a different world . But others come in just to look, and that’s okay, because they will have enjoyed art anyway, even if for a moment.
Spreading art, reaching as many people as possible, because for Vital and Julia art is not the benefit of a few, but an emotion within everyone’s reach.
The choice of the type of art on display also goes with this reason: for a long time illustration was considered a minor art, and this project is committed to giving it the importance it deserves. Different types of art exhibited, different types of “supports”: from posters to postcards. Because in this way everyone can find a work that matches their tastes and also their possibilities. Julia and Vital are committed to ensuring that art is not considered an elite product, but so that all those who wish to have their work of art at home.
Even the choice of frames participates in this idea: simple, almost essential. Because the frame is not the important part. As Vital says “the support is simple, the art is noble”.
The message that Joia launches is precisely that of giving art its due importance and also making it understood that art is a job, not a fantasy or a pastime. Whoever makes art his life invests work, emotions, thoughts, time and often an artist is not considered on a par with many other works. Many times the artist himself ends up not considering himself on a par with other professions. And Vital and Julia with their project try to do it too: help to gain awareness of their work and make the world understand what lies behind an object of art.
And Vital and Julia also attach great importance to the documentation behind it, so that an artist is considered and recognized.
A full-time job that goes well beyond the opening hours of the art gallery / platform.
But Vital and Julia are not only dedicated to curating the work of others, and they continue their personal journey as artists at the same time. Vital with a project called “Vitalis”, in which he works on a heart created with various modules that can be altered in colors and positions, on which he then adds designs. The details. For a work that is new and original every time. Julia, on the other side, dedicates herself to a project that sees her two paths joined, art and psychology, and after a first comic dedicated to alcohol addiction, today she highlights the dignity of mental illness.
What to say: you will be fascinated by this place, by this project, by Julia and Vital who have made their passion a job and their work a mission.
Probably before we begin to give the right importance to art and artists for their work, we should continue to wait, but certainly Joia is a place where those who want to experience art find a reference, a place of growth, of inspiration. And for those who are only passionate about art, they will rarely find a better place to breathe deeply the sacred fire of this passion.
Joia, the jewelry of emotions: and emotions will not be lacking if you accept to let yourself be accompanied by Julia and Vital in this colorful whirlwind made of drawings, colors, words and a lot of heart.
In a society where we talk more and more about organic agriculture, respect for our planet, sustainability, today we want to talk to you about a project that has made these issues a real mission. This is the project of André Maciel.
Originally from Setubal, André has always shown a great sensitivity towards nature. After studying “Design do equipamento” (Design of equipment) in Setubal, he begins to devote himself to the realization of projects with recycled materials.
In this project and passion, his family will always be present, in particular his brother and his best friend who will support him in this adventure right away.
And this is how his first Purisimpl project was born in 2013.
André firmly believes that it is possible to be self-sustainable, create a small ecosystem and produce our own food.
Behind the idea of this project there is a very strong personal story, the name itself hides it. Purisimpl: puri from purifição, which not only means purification, but which was also the name of André’s mother who died prematurely following a tumor when André was only 13 years old. He recalls that in the last period there had been an improvement precisely following the fact that his mother had begun to follow an organic and healthy diet. For André it had been a signal; he begins to think about how this and other diseases are closely related to nutrition.
Organic products existe from a long time but are often too expensive for most of the population. So André’s idea is “Why not make sure that we produce the foods we need ourselves?”
It is precisely to follow his passion that in 2015 André leaves for Coimbra where he studies Organic Agriculture and, after a period of pause in which he dedicates himself to other things, he dedicated himself again to his project.
The basic idea is to be able to create organic food for everyone and within everyone’s reach, counting on everyone’s participation in the production of our food, using the energy of the earth, creating a real small ecosystem within the city. What is called Permaculture.
Today there is a lot of talk about saving our planet, respecting it and looking for ways to take care of it. André began very young to pursue this idea, at first even taken little seriously by those who considered him a young boy who was running after a utopia.
Although today this is his job, for André it was and is a real mission to “educate” people to a completely different kind of life and relationship with the planet.
André defines himself as an activist in some way, and his project is a real movement in which he firmly believes.
For this to work, for this new way of life to reach as many people as possible, it is first of all necessary that everything be simple (hence the second part of the name Purisimpl) almost a return to initial simplicity. We have to go back to understanding simple things, put our hands in the ground, go back to feeling this bond with the land itself.
Three pillars are those on which this project is based: Believe in it, Act, Evolve.
And the life of André and the growth of his project is based precisely on this. Believe it fully, even when no one believed it, even when the idea of him seemed like a utopia, a vague illusion; act by concretely putting into practice what he believes in and showing others, through his concrete example of him, that all this is possible; Evolve, continue to grow on this path.
André’s life met Lisbon in 2017 and three years later, in 2020, a new project is born, a new seed from the mother plant that continues to be the Purisimpl.
André dedicates himself to the urban gardens of Lisbon with the idea of encouraging and motivating people to create their own garden at home.
And this is how the Hortas LX project was born. André has also created a Facebook and Instagram page with the aim of giving some advice to people who are starting to approach this new reality.
A great boost to this project is given precisely by the period of crisis in which we live. This era of pandemic has awakened in many people the desire to take back our planet, to do something concrete, and also to learn how to produce on their own what is most needed.
The motto of the Hortas LX project is “taking care of what will take care of us”, which is our nutrition.
But what is most striking about this project is the fact that around the creation of the garden a real small company is created, where not necessarily everyone must be able to plant their own garden, because maybe there will be someone who will plant it for him. What really matters is that everyone works together for a common project. An idea of mutual aid to give rise to a better society.
Today Hortas LX is an important project, with consultation services, workshops.
There is also a school, which relies on the realization of its lessons, in the sports club of Campolide, and which was created by Fundoambiente, the “Escola a compostar” (composting school) which now has 500 registrations and offers live and online courses.
There are planted also vegetable gardens within companies and André is in charge of creating and managing the teams that will take care of these spaces. It starts by planting the garden in a common area of the company and then, a monthly meeting to deepen each time a different theme and at the same time help in the management of the space, which, in an environment where we often have a cold routine, becomes a small oasis to take care of, where we work together, where we collaborate in the realization of a common project, an alternative way to create that group work, the team, which is so important in companies.
André welcomes us to the “Underground Village” where his office is today, in a co-working environment. A place, but also a challenge: in a space made of stone and ancient buses, today the containers where the offices are located, the challenge is to transform it into a green environment, through its gardens.
André is also a grower of Noocity, creators of the intelligent pots that surround the buses where André built some gardens where everything produced is used in the kitchen of the village restaurant.
And the gardens we see in the village are truly extraordinary: aromatic plants, edible flowers, vegetables and fruit of various types. A truly incredible world. And in front of two Italians like me and Alex, André can’t resist and prepares us the most fragrant bouquet that can exist: that of basil.
Today André’s greatest satisfaction is that of having convinced those who accused him of being a dreamer, of having shown that what he was fighting for could become reality, and that it has become a concrete reality. And even more so to see many of those people today interested in what André does with his projects.
After all, this project is the image of André, who worked by giving him an example, showing that it was possible to do what he was talking about. And today there is a bit of him in all the projects he has created.
There are city gardens in Porto, Setubal, as well as in Lisbon. New gardens have been planted in schools, businesses and even people’s homes.
But what continues to give André the most joy and satisfaction is when he finds himself with his plants, with his hands in the ground and in contact with nature.
What André tries to do through his various projects and his work is above all to pass the message, a concrete message that says that we can really take care of our planet and our future, but we can do it concretely, through a return to simplicity, to earth, to our hands in the ground. To really take care, as André says, of what will take care of us.