An Interview With Artist Ricardo Cavolo



What made you decide to become an artist originally? 

My father is also an artist, so since I was born, I was surrounded by paint, brushes, colors… My father spent a lot of time painting, so I decided to imitate him. Soon I realized I was really enjoying spending that time with myself, drawing and painting. Later, I also realized that painting was the perfect way to tell the stories I had in my mind. Now, I also love the fact that my art lets me connect with people from many different parts of the world. 

In much of your work, there are multiple sets of eyes. It’s one of the things I love most about your style. I feel like the art is looking at me through multiple different perspectives. Can you speak about your use of eyes in your artwork? 

I think the more you see, the wiser you are. The wiser you are, the more interesting you are. So I want to give love to the characters I create. I give them two sets of eyes so they see even more than regular people. They are special to me. Symbology is one of the main things in my art. Everything is there for some specific reason. 

Do you have a preferred medium to work with? 

I must say I love to change medium very often. I get bored very quickly, so if I change the medium, it’s a new challenge, and that’s thrilling and fun for me. And you can feel that in the final result. If I’m bored, I will be boring with my art. I love to be able to jump from a book, to a mural, to my clothing brand, to advertising… But I think my favorite would be painting murals. Working on a big scale is very satisfying, and it lets me to travel around the world. 

How did you discover Tarot and what are thoughts about it? 

I was always interested in Tarot because you can find a very deep usage of symbology. Each element and color in a card means something specific and, as I mentioned before, symbology is my thing. 

In your book, 101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die, you speak about music as a religion. The book reads like a mix between a journal and a Bible. How did you begin constructing this book and the 101 Movies book?

That book [101 Artists to Listen to Before You Die] was already in my mind for a very long time. I love music so the book is just a materialization of my thoughts of 37 years. The same with the movies book. 

Music and movies are one of my main columns of inspiration, so I always had a close relationship with them. 

What artists are you listening to most today?

Personally, I listen to a lot of young rappers, reggaeton and always a lot of flamenco music. 

I’ve noticed many of your murals and artwork scattered across Montreal. Why Montreal? 

I’m based in Spain, but my office is in Montreal. My best friend and manager and the rest of the team is in Montreal, so it’s normal we find more opportunities and projects there. I love it, because Montreal is one of my favorite cities in the world and the people are wonderful, so we have a very good and warm connection. 

One of my favorite album covers of all time is 99.9%. How did you and KAYTRANADA meet? 

He is from Montreal, and I think he saw an exhibition of mine or something like that. He liked my work and felt that connection for his first project. So he was in touch with me and the workflow was easy and fast. We understood each other from the very first moment. I love that project, and it helped me to be more present in North America. 

What’s some project or idea you have that you haven’t done yet that you would like to do? 

I’d love to paint a mural in a church, inside and outside, the whole building. I’d also love to do something like The Salvation Mountain by Leonard Knight. Nothing related with religion, it’s just about the scale of those projects. 

What role do you think art plays in our lives? 

I think art is a thermometer of what’s happening in society. It’s also a way to find solutions, or at least to find a way to understand ourselves. I’m lately working on paintings related to mental health, and there are a lot of people who find a safe space with that, and they feel they are not alone. Art works in so many fields and levels. So you can protest about the social situation, you can talk about loneliness or you can use it just as a delight for your eyes. It’s totally open, and that’s the best of it. 

Where do you find inspiration? 

It’s a cliché, but I find inspiration everywhere. But specifically my inspiration comes from the history of art, comics, cartoons and movies. 

Do you have any words of advice for an aspiring artist? 

This is a very tough path, it’s not easy at all. But if you really are an artist, you will find the time, energy and love to develop a career. And please, be patient, this is a very long race. 

If you could change one thing about the world today, what would that be? 

Money. I would cancel money of our lives. Ninety nine percent of the problems of the world are connected with the money.