Vilela Valentin: The Plane Eater, 2016
The human psyche is a complexity of meaning and counter meaning. It is the system that we live with, both knowingly and unknowingly. It is part of our dreams and our realities, our figments and our concrete knowing. It is the self that sways in the breeze of our conscious and unconscious modes, our very personal and individualised conscious and subconscious self.
The subconscious has fascinated artists ever since it was named, and long before that. Our subconscious is our natural self, the self that cares little for social niceties, for rules and regulations, for standards, and for what others might think of us. Our subconscious deals with desires and needs, it deals with our drives and our ambitions, and that is an intoxicating draw for many artists including the painter, illustrator and designer Vilela Valentin.
Vilela Valentin: Brain Machine, 2016
Vilela Valentin: I let You Suck My Lollipop, 2016
Vilela was born in Rio de Janeiro, but now makes his home in Portugal. He regularly exhibits across Europe and has had his work published in a variety of magazines and journals. He is a popular and well liked artist, with a big fan base.
Interestingly, Vilela has a heavy background in human psychology. He has a degree in psychology, as well as a masters in clinical psychology. This places him at a point where, as an artist, he can equally balance both human creativity and human psychology.
Vilela Valentin: Catching the Bird, 2016
Vilela Valentin: Have Wet Dreams, 2016
His work is a powerful portrayal of the human subconscious. He often deals with the deep rooted needs, desires, and affections that are so much a part of who we are, but that we so often find so painful to show, or perhaps more tellingly, admit to having.
We are creatures of the earth, and being creatures of the earth, we have earthy needs and desires. We are sexual creatures, we are emotional creatures, our bodies tingle with desire and drive, and yet we so often muffle those desires and drives, allowing our conscious selves to flagellate ourselves for what is nothing more than our human nature.
Vilela Valentin: The Cock Painter, 2016
Vilela Valentin: I Can Keep Control
We castigate ourselves for our needs and our desires, so that they end up deep within ourselves, deep within our subconscious. And when those needs and desires do bubble to the conscious surface, we are made to feel shame and loathing, as if our subconscious is either in error, or worse, not a part of us.
But we disown it at our peril. We are our subconscious self as much as we are our conscious self. We have to embrace our desires, our imagination, our needs, and we need artists to project that understanding of our full self, and to tell us that it is ok.
Vilela Valentin: Rainbow Sprinkles Cake, 2016
Vilela Valentin: Diavolo, 2016
Vilela makes no compromise. His work is beautifully produced, and beautifully posed, and directly connected to desire and need. His compositions show and tell. They show us who we are and who we are allowed to be, and more importantly, who we have always been. Vilela's work also tells us about connection with need, connection with desire, and they are powerful drives in us all, and no one, no matter how much they protest, is immune from that.
Vilela is an important artist because he understands what it is to be human, a full human, and he is honest and clear about what that entails. That honesty is precious and it is important that his work is seen for what it is, a celebration of humanity, a celebration of humanity in its fullness, in its needs, and in its desires.
Vilela Valentin: Two Kingdoms, 2016
Vilela Valentin: I Love When You Lie To Me, 2016
More of Vilela's work can be found at his comprehensive website: http://vilelavalentin.weebly.com/
Please be aware that all of the images illustrating this article were provided by the artist. Please do not reproduce without permission from the artist. Thanks!