Signs for Freedom

There was a time when we walked on the streets and saw tons of shop curtains intervened with colorful yet unknown graffitis. We were conscious of the graffiti’s message and its disruptive way to cut in public locations, usually without permission. Nowadays, we find these interventions attractive and successful in positively calling our attention. Fortunately, this passion became remunerated work and evolved into an opportunity of knowing the message’s author. Today we’re featuring João Varela‘s work: Signs for Freedom

After a rebellious phase as a young graffiti writer, João Varela realized that his passion wasn’t about adrenaline and running from cops either. It was all about the letterforms. Since then, he has dedicated himself to studying and experimenting with type, whether very dirty lettering with a brush and ink or spend hours adjusting bezier curves. This duality between digital and manual processes has always played a key role in his work.
The street-art festival No-Walls challenged João’s team to question and reflect upon liberty and its meaning in different social environments. As his intervention was located right by the elementary school of Queijas, he knew he wanted to do something that would involve these young kids somehow.

João started thinking about liberty, education, and the relation between the two. He came up with a composition of several signs that strive to guide the children towards freedom. Set in a colorful and joyful tone, with many different styles, sizes, weights, and bright colors. The composition is visually busy and emulates a happy protest. Some of the signs are faux, but others were made out of wood and screwed onto the final volume.

With a whopping total of 257 characters, this was the most letters João and his team have painted for any projected by far. It was a challenging couple of days painting under the sun and rain, but it was well worth it!


Credits: João Varela

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