João Campos began his career at UM studying classical piano, but, after discovering the connection between music and art, he decided to shift his focus to painting. Campos is now pursuing a Masters in Fine Arts at UM.
The Miami Hurricane: Where did you grow up?
João Campos: I was born in Miami, but I moved to Brazil before I was one year old and lived there for 15 years.
TMH: Did you always know you wanted to be an artist?
C: I knew I wanted to do something related to art, but I didn’t know what. It took me a little while to become a painter because, for a long time, my main focus was the classical piano.
TMH: When did you start playing the piano?
C: When I was 15 years old I started playing the classical piano, and that same year, I moved to Hungary to study piano at an exchange program. I was only supposed to stay there for a year, but I ended up staying for five years.
TMH: How did you go from the piano to painting?
C: While I was practicing the piano, I would always be drawing and painting too. So when I was 21 and decided to study classical piano performance at UM, I also took painting and drawing classes. Because of that, I took up a double major in both art and music. Little by little, through my studies, I discovered a relationship between music and visual arts. I wanted to learn more about that relationship, so I continued my studies at UM by entering their graduate program for fine arts.
TMH: How do you like the art program at UM?
C: I really like the way the professors teach. I especially like their seminars because not only do they teach us the many different aspects of art, but they require a lot of critical thinking skills.
TMH: How would you describe your artwork?
C: My painting is objective. It is not a direct narrative, it explores the motions the materials provide. It is a very similar process to music in that way.
TMH: Does your background in piano influence your art?
C: From playing classical piano I developed a sense of discipline, imagination and an understanding of how to deal with its frequency, vibrations and notes to generate emotion. Painting is similar to playing the piano, but instead of notes and frequency, you deal with formal elements like color, shape, lines and textures. In music and painting, you always end up with emotions that express something.
TMH: Are you still playing the piano?
C: Not so much because my priority right now is painting. But I am part of a group at UM called Kaleidoscope MusArt. The group brings together musicians, artists and dancers, so I get to perform the classical piano with them.
TMH: Do you have any role models?
C: That’s a tough question because they are always changing. But at this moment it would be Wassily Kandinsky for his painting and Arnold Schoenberg for his classical piano music.
TMH: Where do you see yourself in the future?
C: I want to stay in the United States. I don’t think about going back to Brazil just yet. My goal right now is to keep painting and to continue discovering new things.
Campos’ paintings are on display in the UM 2016 Incoming Graduate Student Exhibition until Sept. 26 at the University of Miami Art Gallery at the Wynwood Building, 2750 NW 3rd Avenue, Suite 4, Miami. Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday. Admission is free.
This Q&A is part of a series on the artists featured in the exhibition.