Interview of the month
Machado Leão is an emerging digital artist based in Brazil whose practice explores science, surveillance and spirituality. Machado’s surrealist photo collages that blend sci-fi with marbled textures, classical sculpture and European Baroque painting. By carefully selecting and cropping his source images, Machado creates mesmerising landscapes that cryptically express his emotional and metaphysical convictions. His signature saturated reds and pink, along with atmospheric clouds, oceans and planetary imagery lend his artworks a sense of surreal monumentality.
Artwork by Machado Leão
Two years ago, Machado had just turned 30 and was struggling to find work he loved, despite having a degree in Business Administration. To occupy his mind, he began to create digital artworks on the Photo Editor App of his Android smartphone. He has never looked back since! The emergence of NFT trading platforms have allowed Machado to sell his collages and sustain his practice. He has recently bought a tablet to create more detailed work, but is still a fan of the simplicity and efficiency of creating collages on his phone. Being a self-taught emerging artist, Machado now looks back on his earlier academic training as an asset: “it is because of my business degree that I can organise my career as an artist and flourish.”
Machado’s commercial success is also testament to his theatrical, bold style of pastiche, and to his sensitive experimentation. He first came across Surrealist art on Instagram, and describes how “somehow I knew I had to do it because it was part of me and this must have been the only time in my life I gave myself body and soul to something.” When a collage doesn’t please him, Machado will return to it to rework the image by changing the colour palette or modifying the composition entirely in order to produce a new effect. “Most of the time,” he explains, “it’s just a case of scrolling and coming across the right images to combine.” A collage can take anywhere between ten minutes to several weeks to make. Machado embraces the randomness and beauty of surprise discoveries because it feels innate: “I am the kind of person that spots all kinds of animals and forms when I gaze up at clouds.”
This year, Machado is excited to try experimenting with a greater number of source images to create a series of complex and cryptic digital collages to be sold as NFT collectibles. He is also collaborating with the musician Angel Haze, and has a scheduled drop on 22 April with Niftify of a NFT series based on a story Machado created when he was 9 years’ old. He is overjoyed at how NFT platforms helped him earn money from his art, and have helped him gain the exposure and networks of support necessary to develop creatively. “I believe NFTs are here to stay,” he muses, “I can imagine a future where art is shown on big screens and where the owners of the pieces will be able to schedule a presentation to show to their guests.”
Artwork by Machado Leão