Q&A! med Rui Tenreiro

Rui Tenreiro for Amelias Magazine

Illustratør? Designer? Redaktør? Tegneserieskaper? Vi har snakket – eh, eller e-mailet om du vil – med Rui Tenreiro, mannen bak The Culture Front og ‘fanzine-forlaget’ Soyfriends.

Rui er ikke akkurat et erketypisk norskt navn. Vil du fortelle oss litt om bakgrunnen din? Alder? Hvor kommer du fra? Sitter du på noen relevant utdannelse?
I thought I’d reply in Norwegian at first but, after reading through all the questions, I think it might be better to reply in English, as some are a little hard to explain with my conversational level Norwegian.

I’m born in Mozambique and am of both Mozambican and Portuguese nationality. I got to Oslo in the same way many others did, after doing a course at the Kent Institute of Art & Design in the UK.
I had been to Norway in 1998 and loved it and, after visiting a few more times, I decided I’d like to move to Oslo. I am now 28.

(PS: Rui is actually a norwegian surname as well. Just try searching on telefonkatalogen, and you will see some there. Apart from that, it’s quite a typical portuguese name.)

Når og hvordan fant du ut at det var dette du skulle gjøre?

While in college, I was paging through a copy of ‘My Way’ by Silex, and thought that I would like to do books like that. It was the first time that I consciously thought that. Another time was when I found Kim Hiorthøy’s ‘Alt Fins’. These two books exist as objects in themselves. They didn’t seem to be designed as vehicles to transmit images (that have been made to be seen in other mediums), but rather as the ultimate medium in which images should be seen in. This ‘book as object’ quality made me want to do books.

PÃ¥ websiden din skriver du at du ikke helt klarer Ã¥ avgrense virksomheten din til en kategori, og at du er “…an editor, artist, illustrator but don’t place myself within any of the categories.“.
Disse kategoriene er tradisjonelt sett mer eller mindre forskjellige hva gjelder motivasjon, idealisme og visningskanaler. Synes du det er viktig å skille mellom kommersielle arbeider du gjør på oppdrag og dine egne mer idealistiske arbeider, og hvordan gjør du eventuelt det i praksis?

The most important way of dividing the work happens in your mind. I divide my work very clearly between commercial work and personal work in my own mind. And in each situation my approach is different. However, I don’t think it’s important to divide the work into ‘commissions’ and ‘personal’ on your own site, as it is all done by one creator. If you want others to see it, it doesn’t matter if you did it for yourself or for someone else. It might also be that, if someone is trying to be perceived as an artist, he/she will avoid presenting commercial work on their site, and the same might apply to someone who wants to be perceived solely as a commercial illustrator, and who will avoid showing a more artistic side to their work.

When it comes to defining how I see myself, I can’t define it because what I do with most of my time is not how I see myself. I sell illustration and that would make me an illustrator, or I edit art zines and that would make me an editor. I think I have some of both qualities to some degree, but I’m truly none of those. The closest I came to defining what I do is when seeing myself as a story teller or a writer. However, it’s not a big deal if I can’t label myself. It’s more a convenient of explaining what I do.

Rui Tenreiro for Tine Meierier

Det er mange internasjonale kunder Ã¥ finne pÃ¥ cv’en din. Hvordan gÃ¥r du frem for Ã¥ fÃ¥ disse jobbene? Eller er det kanskje de som oppsøker deg? Hvordan kaprer du kunder generelt?

I approached some of them. But most of them approached me. I approached Amelia’s Magazine and Hot Rod, and I approached the comics publishers and, from some of those briefs/books, more projects came up. It’s good to approach people who can provide you with good PR every now and then instead of waiting for it to come along.

Rui Tenreiro for Amelias Magazine
Rui Tenreiro for Dazed and Confused

Blant navnene på klientlisten din finner man selskaper som McDonalds, Pepsi og Coca Cola.
Mange designere mener at dette er “uetiske kunder” de ikke vil gjøre oppdrag for. Hva syntes du om det? Har designere egentlig noe ansvar, og har du noen egne etiske verdier innen illustrasjon/design? Finnes det noen selskaper du ikke ville jobbet for?

This is a discussion I’ve heard a lot about, but could never make my mind about it.
Artists don’t have a particular duty to make a difference in society. I mean, not more than an accountant or a teacher has. Artists have just as much of a duty.
However, artists are in a position in which they can doubt the mainstream and say something against it because they are closer to vehicles of communication (magazines, books, articles, posters, t-shirts) and they can choose to use this power, or not. This is a personal choice and should not be seen as an obligation. But I also think that the first duty begins simply as people. I imagine this can generate a lot of debate, I’m just not completely sure how to answer it yet.

To tell the truth, if I knew that a company was exploiting people badly AND I could afford to refuse a job from such a company, I would.
Perhaps I’m not socially responsible enough or I’m just misinformed about these big companies, so I have no problems working for them. Also, many times my direct client is actually an advertising agency, which makes it seem like I’m not working directly for Pepsi or Coke.
I did break ties once with an agency in South Africa because they didn’t respect artists, which included me. So, I guess I would break ties anytime, as long as I knew for sure that such companies were stepping over people.

Hva synes du om nivået og holdninger innen designkretser i Norge?
Omgåes du mye med andre designere og illustratører?

I think the level is quite high. And I’m always happy to see artists trying harder and making room for further improvement. I feel sad to see that some companies try to get artists to do cheap work, as this spoils the market. Even more serious: some companies get artists to copy other artists. And this could really spoil it if one of these pieces would be shown to an international audience who might think that norwegian artists don’t know any better. We really ought to be careful not to let this sort of work represent the rest of the crowd who has worked so hard to deserve a solid place on an international scene.

I haven’t worked much with other designers. I would like to collaborate more with comics collective Dongery. I think they are producing great work but lack the financial resources to make the work achieve its full potential. With enough budget, Dongery could really produce something outstanding by any standard. I’m not sure if they would agree with me.

Rui Tenreiro albumcover for Frost
Rui Tenreiro for Norwegian Wood

Jeg var på forelesning med Adrian Shaughnessy, hvorpå han sa man aldri burde delta i designkonkurranser. Hva synes du om å delta i konkurranser? Og gjør man det for eget ego eller for å dra inn nye kunder? (hvis ja, tror du det har noen effekt å vinne en pris?)

This is a hard one. I would like to know why he said that, because there seems to be a good reason behind his opinion. Competition drives people towards improvement. But to enter design competitions probably comes down the reason why you enter it in the first place. I guess some do it to feed an ego, or it could be self-promotion. But it’s hard for me to say something without knowing why he said that.

In my head, to win a prize means to be formally recognized. I don’t think it necessarily means that you are great but, if people who have the power to decide that you are great have said so, other people might end up thinking the same. And I suppose this is what many people want.


Hva er den største tabben du har gjort i forbindelse med jobb?

I can’t think of any situation in which I really blew it.


Hvilke ser du opp til?

I look up to Dongery, for their amazing aesthetic sense and innovative use of handmade typefaces and great humor. I look up to Yokoland for the ‘feel-good’ spirit in their work, the many good-looking things they do, how they think about design and how they use color.
I look up to some fine artists too, such as Daniel Jensen, Martin Skauen, Ã…re Mokkelbost, Kalle Runeson and Christian Brandt.

I look up to commercial designers too, like Halvor Bodin and Martin Kvamme who are able to continue producing high standard of work continuously. And the same can be said of several designers at SDG, some of whom were at Bleed before. And to Grandpeople who are much younger but match any of the older designers. I look up to Bjørn Brochmann for being a talented commercial illustrator. It’s hard to give examples, I’m sure I’m forgetting a few more.

I also look up to some of the illustrators within publishing, but I think that Norway is in need of new
talents when it comes to illustration school books and children books publishers. There are some names, but it’s not a ‘happening’ facet of norwegian illustration.

Rui Tenreiro
Rui Tenreiro

Om jeg har forstått det riktig så jobber du nå med en bok, The Celebration? Hva handler den om, og når er det mulig få kjøpt et eksemplar?

I am releasing the book through Jippi! Forlag under the title ‘Høytiden’. The book is a loop-story about two travelers who discover a strange, dead creature in a forest. It has influences of Japanese ghost stories and Shinto mythology. I thought about the book in 2005/2006 but it has taken me a long time to do it. I will release it at the Oslo Comics Expo (OCX) in May 2008. It will have more than 100 pages and will probably be available at Tronsmo or Torpedo. It will also be released in Canada, for french readers.

The Celebration

Har du noen flere prosjekter på gang, som vi burde vite om?

Hmm. It’s too early to talk about them but I’m also working on a next story called ‘Trollet’. It will be a shorter story than The Celebration but I am working with someone who will make a soundtrack for the story. It’s the story involving ‘greed’ and a Troll who carries a bag of gold and how that gets him in and out of trouble.

Hvem syntes du vi skal ha Q&A med neste gang?
Octolo – Kristoffer Kjølberg & Bendik Kaltenborn of Dongery!

Rui Tenreiro
Rui Tenreiro
Rui Tenreiro

For mer av Rui’s imponerende arbeider besøk hjemmesiden hans.

Postet av Erland

[ 10C ] [ December 3, 2007 ] [ Bilder & Reportasjer - Design & Illustrasjon - Q&A! ]

  1. Reyo
    December 3rd, 2007 at 17:49

    Veldig bra og interresante svar…

  2. Joakim
    December 3rd, 2007 at 18:41

    Interesting interview and very nice work Rui!

  3. Ståles Kreativoli
    December 3rd, 2007 at 20:01

    Feiende flott design gitt.

  4. Secret Extra Life
    December 4th, 2007 at 1:29

    Gleder meg til tegneserien kommer! Liker tegningene godt!

  5. Bøljan
    December 4th, 2007 at 20:25

    Dette var et bra intervju.