In the world of contemporary art, few people have risen to the level attained by Otavio and Gustavo Pandolfo. Known as Os Gêmeos, these identical twin brothers from São Paulo, Brazil have captured the imagination of the art world with colorful scenes inhabited by the jaundiced caricatures of self expression and whimsy.
The duo visited Houston on Monday to celebrate their most recent collaboration with Hennessy, a limited edition bottle with Os Gêmeos artwork designed and printed on the label. Previous manifestations of this type of art collaboration have seen Kaws and Futura2000 as the featured artists.
The Houston Press was one of three media outlets invited to a media roundtable and luncheon held at Diverseworks Gallery in Midtown, which included local artists Gonzo247, Dual, Skeez181, 2:12, and Dandee Warhol.
Highlights of the interview are provided below:
We started with drawing at an early age. Drawing for us was the best way to play. We later discovered drawing was our tool to express ourselves and communicate with family and friends. Later in the '80s we discovered other mediums, specifically spray paint. So we started to discover our city through graffiti. That was our key to the city, a city full of surprises. That later led to paintings and sculptures and gallery work, inside work. We do not call ourselves graffiti artists, or street artists. Yes, we do that, but that [graffiti] is outside. We work also inside and do it all. We use many different way to express ourselves. Graffiti is just one way. We respect too much this outside, graffiti world, and try hard not to mix.
Collaboration with Hennessy:
We were inspired by our good friend Lenny (Futura2000), and also Kaws who is a good friend. We met Lenny a long time ago, and he showed us his Hennessy collaboration. At the same time, we worked together on an installation at PS11 in New York City. So he showed us the idea of the bottle, and later traveled to Cognac to see the company [Hennessy] and the whole process of the creation of the bottle. So for us, it was nice to go back to our origins. We used to do a lot of illustrations and watercolor, so this label was good. Also, we don't want to explain the meaning of the drawing because we like to give the opportunity to the people to play with their imagination and discover. If we explain, we limit the imagination, and that is not interesting. The best is to discover what is behind the window.
Connection Between Art and Music:
We have a lot of connection with music. We grew up with Hip-Hop. We did breakdancing and rapping. There's always a challenge to create something new. We grew up in the '80s and we had friends who had nothing. They couldn't even afford batteries for the boom box. But now, they are successful through art and music. The first Hip-Hop that inspired us was the video for "Buffalo Girls" by Malcolm McLaren. We do listen to music while we paing, a little bit of everything: reggae, opera, Afrika Bambaataa. When we DJ, it depends of the feeling and the place. We love to play old school funk and new trap, as well as Brazilian folk music.
Everywhere we go, every single dream we have, we try use it all in our drawings. Even here in Houston, this is our first time here, to drive in the city and view the city, we will try to use these visuals. Its good to be open. The image of the village on our Hennessy bottle can be a town in Lithuania or in the local [U.S.] countryside. A universal image. We use photography, too, but the best picture is in our minds.
A bottle signing and meet and greet followed at Spec's Warehouse, 2410 Smith, with more than 30 cases being sold to the hundreds of art fans who waited in line to meet the brothers. The night ended with an after party filled with Hennessy cocktails at Eighteen Cocktail Bar (2511 Bissonnet), which included DJ sets by Os Gêmeos, DJ PHSH, and DJ Roger Dee.
View more photos of Os Gêmeos visit to Houston by checking out our slideshow.