Our next story takes us to a very special world, the miniature world of Carlos’ shop.
Originally from Viana do Castelo, in the beautiful Minho region, Carlos Guimaraes opens the doors of his shop, in the Casais de Mem Martins area, on the outskirts of Sintra.
Lovers of modeling, but not only, will certainly be amazed to see the world that hides in this shop.
Carlos’s passion for modeling has always been carried within him, a world capable of making young and old dream.
Carlos’s father had a toy shop, and he imported from different countries. At the time, Carlos, sixteen years old and already a great lover of modeling and new technologies, began to try to persuade him to introduce some modeling objects into his shop.
Their first shop will be in Lisbon, in Rossio Square, where the father’s children’s toys are combined with his son’s models.
The passion for this world will always accompany Carlos, who even continuing to work in other fields, makes this world “in miniature” an oasis of him.
“Here I have fun, I don’t work” he tells me. And this is immediately perceived, especially when, with the impatient air of a child, he leads us through the halls of his shop to discover this world that fascinates him so much.
A real guided life between models of all kinds, from the simplest to the most sophisticated, from those within everyone’s reach to those for true amateurs willing to invest a real fortune.
The first rooms he shows us are those of cars and motorcycles, complete with remote control. As soon as we enter, Carlos proudly shows us the box of a collector’s model of which he has received three copies. “It’s a limited edition” he explains to us. And only a few model shops in the world have received a few.
We pass between shelves of all kinds of spare parts, perfectly identical to the real ones only much smaller. And if there are spare parts, batteries and tools, there will also be the workshop … And there it is, the repair area, with also a space covered by a white cloth, a lamp and the reproduction of a mini photographic set, where Carlos photographs the new models acquired.
There are cars of every era and model, remote controlled, with suspensions, which reach truly remarkable speeds. Carlos explains that there are competitions and that some enthusiasts manage to create a real garage of immense value by collecting more models.
But leaving this room for the next one, we are struck by a plane, perfect in every detail, and Carlos explains to us that these are planes that can fly perfectly and that participate in the Aeromania event.
Carlos explains that in Sintra, near the air force, there is an air base where you can fly these miniature planes from the age of 17.
Carlos says that the proximity of the air base to the air force area is not accidental because many young people, passionate about flying, then pass from the experience of flying their plane to that of a real plane. Carlos in that base accompanied many boys, teaching them how to fly these “perfect miniatures”. And in this regard, he tells us a truly incredible story. On a trip, when he was ready to embark for Dubai, a young man in uniform approached him greeting him and calling him by name. Carlos was surprised, not recognizing him. Then he presented himself as “Franceschino”. Carlos at that point said he understood even less since that was a baby name and that man had told him that yes, it was a name for a child, because that was what Carlos called him when Francesco, a boy at the time, had learned to fly a “miniature” plane with him, thus giving birth to the passion that he then continued to cultivate as an adult.
Our journey continues among small real works of art such as those kept in a showcase and which were presented at the Lisbon tourism hobby kit which is held annually in October.
In the next room there are boats, modern but also real galleons and Carlos shows us one with bronze cannons and real wooden boards, in the same number as the ship he reproduces. It is a ship from the era of Portuguese maritime expansion. 370 pieces, 6 months of work to build it and a cost of 1800 €. These works, explains Carlos, pass from generation to generation. Even the sails were treated with water and salt to recreate an effect of crystals that shine like stars as was done with the ships of the time, Carlos tells us, to encourage the crew to continue traveling.
Of course, there is also room for Diecast, what we usually call modeling. In this case there is no building but to collect and each object has a small certificate with the number of. series to be jealously guarded. Among the objects that Valentino Rossi’s motorbikes and miniatures, which he cannot fail to show us, is also a truly unusual object: the reproduction of the trucks carrying the vaccine. low but that over time and demand can increase in value. After all, this is the law of the market that regulates the value of these collectibles.
Carlos’s “miniature” world is truly endless: it transports us between war reproductions, complete with characters and objects of everyday life, as well as those of military life, to recreate the environment in every aspect, what it’s called Diorama. Objects that come from Italy, Germany, the USA, Russia, Ukraine … and other countries. A real world tour in some room.
But what strikes me most in this guided tour that Carlos makes us of his shop is the passion with which he tells us things and the fact that for every single object, for every reproduction, Carlos is able to tell us the story of that event or of that object recreated them. It is like attending a history lesson, walking through this miniature world.
And there is something for everyone, from the Battle of Waterloo to the Reichstag.
Obviously there is no shortage of objects, miniatures of trees and flowers, and characters also used for architecture projects, and small recreations, with mini characters, of every moment of human life.
Carlos really took us into a different reality, made of history but also of a lot of fantasy. And what really strikes us is his great passion, the way his eyes sparkle as he describes his world to us, piece by piece.
His unmissable appointment is obviously the Nuremberg fair, where every year Carlos also participates as a press officer for his Hobby magazine. In 55 years he has only passed away twice; a fixed appointment for him.
But Carlos still has other hidden worlds and talents to tell. Turns out the magazine photos of him are of him. And that behind the passion he told us hides a past as a photographer.
Years ago, in Paris, he had taken a course in photography and cinema and ended up working for Playboy. He tells us that to find new models, he went downtown to the Cafe de la Paix, where the girls looking for work as models were attentive to the presence of a photographer. And then Carlos just had to put his camera on the table, and that’s it. They asked him to make a photo book and so he turned into a talent scout.
And Paris won’t be his only destination. Invited for a photographic event in Brazil, he returns a second time for a year and a half reportage work in the Amazon.
And if photography had brought him there, the video reportages had seen him as the protagonist of services also made for RTP. He tells us about one related to the overseas war that he ended up collecting rather shocking images that in the end could not be transmitted. And some time later those same images, in a competition in Spain, had earned him an important journalistic prize.
In short. Carlos never ceases to amaze us, a life that would be worthy of a book. But even in the face of so many adventures, he prefers to return to his little world, a bit like a male version of Alice, who “shrinks” to return to his wonderland, which for Carlos is a world made up of transport, landscapes and characters. , which you can often hold in the palm of your hand.
To tell the next story, pages and pages would not be enough, as there are so many things, experiences, facets of the person I am about to introduce. And even with so many words, I probably wouldn’t be able to fully convey the extraordinary energy she emanates.
This is Glow.
As we sit down to chat, because I love earrings, I see immediately the ones she wears, absolutely original. And Glow explains to me that she made them with a 3D printer and a special biodegradable resin made from corn and sugar cane. She has already won me over.
She tells me that when I get to know her story, I will also understand how the idea and this art form came about.
Glow was born in Brazil, in São Paulo. Her best childhood memory is her grandmother’s farm, near a river, surrounded by nature, with no contact with the modern world. A memory that probably greatly influenced her current sensitivity to the environment.
With about 6/8 years, she starts to live alone with her mother, as her father leaves Brazil to work in Portugal and other countries.
Her parents opened some businesses, stores that sell magazines, books, but also small food products. Unfortunately, their various commercial attempts always ended in failure.
But it is precisely through books and illustrations that Glow has her first contact with art that immediately impresses her.
Her childhood will be in Brazil, but around the age of eleven she reaches her father, who meanwhile has another family in Portugal and will live with him, his new wife and daughter in Ribatejo.
It will not be an easy coexistence.
Glow tells me something that impresses me a lot, and in the course of our interview, she repeats it often. What impresses me most, actually, is that she says it with a smile and serenity.
She tells me that her parents are “emotionally independent” people, whereas she was an “emotionally dependent” person. She has always sought her parents’ approval, the classic “slap on the back” at her choices, a “good” said at the right time, but that often didn’t come.
A period of self-discovery also begins for Glow. She starts to question her gender identity. And she also starts to express this moment of discovery through a new way of being and presenting herself. But she has to deal with a very conservative environment, especially in a small village, where her own father, as a foreigner, was discriminated against.
Glow’s reaction will be to stop expressing herself as she would like, to try to protect herself.
Around the age of 15/16, she faced a new challenge: she decided to enroll in digital marketing and advertising university. She begins to get to know the marketing and audiovisual environment and begins to experiment with new forms of expression through images and sounds that become a new instrument for Glow and a new way of talking about herself.
During this period she also began to write poetry. She also starts to frequent the circle of poets in Santarém and one of her poems will also be chosen to be included in a book.
It’s a way for Glow to express her feelings, those feelings she learns too early to hide. She defines herself as a lonely child. But she doesn’t say this with bitterness or anger towards her parents. On the contrary. She explains that in the beginning there was anger, but now there is an understanding of what it was, that she understood that each of us is done her way and that her parents are independent and couldn’t give Glow the approval she needed. Then, at some point, she stopped and understood that the support she needed had to be sought from within herself.
A big change happens when Glow is sixteen. On the way home to her father and wife, she strikes up a conversation with the two that leads to a discussion. At this point, Glow asks to stop the car and goes down, in the middle of the road. They lived 40 km from Santarém and the way home was still quite long. Her father thought he would find her at home, but Glow will never go home. She is going to take refuge with a friend where she will live for a while.
It is during this period that Glow begins to question herself about her “Modus Operandi”, especially questions about how she really wanted to be seen by others, what was the image of herself that she really wanted to give.
At the end of high school, another change, this time dictated by the heart. In love with a boy, she follows him to Peniche where she works in a workshop. “I would never do that again,” she tells me. And she doesn’t talk about working in a garage, because work doesn’t scare her, but about moving to another city to follow someone, because choices always have to be made for oneself and not for others.
At this point, Glow realizes she needs a different environment, a bigger city in which she feels free to express herself. And that’s when she arrives in Lisbon, about seven years ago. And it’s here in Lisbon that she starts with many experiences, some of which are quite decisive for her future choices.
In the beginning, it’s working in a nightclub bar where Drag Queens shows take place. A discovery. Glow begins to be fascinated by this world and decides it might be just the way she needs to express herself. She decides to start doing little street shows. A real change for Glow which at the time still wore men’s clothing. But for these performances, she wears the role of a drag queen, a stage dress, a wig. And every day dressed like this, she walks between her house and the area where she performs her show.
And that path Glow remembers well, but most of all, she tells me, she remembers the humiliation she felt as she walked it, every day.
This phase of her life, Glow sees it as a moment of reflection. The work was extremely tiring, from 10 pm to 7 / 8 am to earn €25, per night and not per hour. But Glow tells me this gave her a new perspective on life. It also allowed her to have a first contact with the LGBT community (acronym for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender, ed.).
Then it will be the turn of a job in a gay bar for a strictly male audience, where every night there was a “special theme” to follow. Glow makes a point of explaining to me how it worked because first impressions can be negative. And she confesses to me that she herself had a lot of prejudices about it. Once again she works at the bar. But every night she witnesses the routine of this place that impresses her a little at first, but then makes her think. Looking at the incoming audience, she understands how many people there are who need a “secret” place to express themselves freely, without being judged.
Glow starts to question herself about her personality, starts asking herself a lot of questions, she learns to be proud of her body and realizes that she doesn’t know anymore how much of Drag Queen Glow really is and how much she is just a character. Therefore, Glow leaves the role of Drag to think about it.
She leave for Spain, where she works at the reception of a hotel opened in an old convent.
In the meantime, she also starts recording podcasts about everyday issues that are often taboo.
And especially in this period she meets her father again.
For Glow, it is an important turning point. She explains to me that for all these years it was as if she couldn’t go on, precisely because that part of her life and her relationship with her father had been suspended. Seeing him, talking to him, for Glow was a way to close a cycle. She is no longer angry, she accepted them. Her parents simply cannot show their affection for her the way she would like. Glow remembers, for example, when, chosen from the cycle of poets in Santarém, her father did not come into the room to support her, but she knew he was happy for her. She sometimes talks with her mother by phone, but she hasn’t seen her in the last thirteen years. They want tat she is okay, and she knows it.
Glow is at the height of her artistic expression: she shoots videos on Instagram, she starts to take on a feminine style. With the arrival of the pandemic, she begins to feel more isolated. Until discovering a space in Lisbon for Voguing meetings. (In the 1920s in New York, the LGBT community found refuge in the so-called Ballrooms. Far beyond a simple party, it was and still is a welcoming space, a safe place where these people who daily lived on the margins of society could, at less for one night, feeling good about themself. The Voguing has its origins in the New York Ballrooms of the 1920s, having been created by the queer Latino and black communities of Harlem. They used the movement used by the models in the pages of Vogue, and also influenced by ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs and gymnastic movements, ed.) And in these Lisbon environments, Glow also begins to discover dance, a new artistic expression.
And here is the Glow that we see now, a great woman, the result of all these experiences.
Today, she is also very dedicated to environmental issues and it is from this new dispute that the Glow Oficina is born, in which she is dedicated to creating sustainable art.
For Glow, art should be “waste free”, a totally sustainable art. She says that to reduce the impact on the planet we must be the first to change. And Glow tries to do it through its creations, with donated or used clothes, through new eating habits. But Glow’s art has many facets.
In her last house in Alfama, Glow starts with posters on various topics hanging on her porch. Her idea is to make her house a living art gallery. And she shows me the work inspired by the work of Linn da Quebrada (Brazilian artist) and her first performance dedicated to the myth of Lillith (the first woman, before Eve, born like Adam and not raised by his rib, ed). Through a traveling exhibition in her home, including paintings, videos and images and sounds, Glow tells that story.
But something is still missing. Glow buys a 3D printer and starts making objects with recyclable materials. And she goes back to writing poetry. Today, she tells me, she understood that none of her forms of expression, to keep herself free, can be a source of salary.
Now she sold everything, bought a camera to film her life, and sent in an application to volunteer in Italy. At the moment when you are reading her story, Glow is in Catania, where she is dedicated to social support for the people in difficult situations.
She has many projects, but she’s going to think about it day by day, maybe a performance that encompasses all her arts.
Before leaving, she tells me that it’s no use waiting for others to change, we’re the ones who change and it’s this change that counts. Only by our actions, we impact the society, much more than building a character on social media.
Today Glow tries to live in a lighter way, not expecting too much, not asking too much of herself, remaining proactive and continuing to tell her truth.