There is no ready-made meaning, life is what we create – Michael de Oliveira

Michel de Oliveira was born in Tobias Barreto (SE), Brazil. Visual artist, photographer, writer and art educator. He is motivated by the intuitive action of the creative process and by the aesthetic and material potentialities of the photographic image. He develops works that orbit around the confluence of the themes of death, memory, nostalgia, perishability, precariousness, body, gender and identity. A creator outside the hegemonic circuits, he is interested in vernacular and handmade production. Researcher with an emphasis on photography and visual culture, he holds a PhD in Communication and Information from UFRGS. Author of O amor são tontas coisas (Moinhos, 2021), O sagrado coração do homem (Moinhos, 2018), Saudades eternas: photography between death and survival (Eduel, 2018) and Cólicas, cramps and other pains. Among the awards received, the following stand out Funarte Respirarte Award and the Funarte Art Everywhere Award.

How did your experience with art begin?

Since I was a child, the ways of making have caught my attention. I have always been learning new things and, as I am pragmatic, this learning is accompanied by the attempt of application. I consider myself an experimenter, I have a very strong attraction for any possibility of creation, whether it is baking a cake or writing a book. Where I come from, in the interior of Sergipe, art as an institution does not exist.

What motivates you to create?

Creation is what gives meaning to life. There is no ready-made meaning, life is what we create and weave. So I can’t exist without creating. My motivation is precisely the creative experience. Creating brings me closer to what is most basic in the possibility, even if minimal, of changing part of one’s own destiny. Creating is, for me, a synonym of living.

What is your creative process and how do you find and choose your materials/media?

My creative process comes a lot from intuition, from the experience of existing, with so many different things we feel, from joy to pain, from love to hate. When an idea becomes more insistent and wants to become a work, I think about the best way to materialize it. My creative dedication in the field of visual arts has been photography, so I am always experimenting with possibilities, from forms of photographic creation to image supports. And this choice depends on each project, on what I want to communicate.

What influence does culture have on your work?

I am very contemporary, in the sense that I am intimately connected to the present time and space. So culture, in all its aspects, has a direct influence on my creative processes.Thinking of my origins, of a countryside culture, I realise that my work is strongly influenced by this interior vision.

What influence does the use of colour have on your artwork? 

My works are primarily in colour. I like the possibility to explore colours, how they complement or fight with each other. I only produce monochromatic works when the work asks for it, but my first option is always in colour.

Could you describe your work in one word?


Can you share your social networks to follow you and learn more about your art? 

The channel where I am most active today is Instagram:


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