From walls to paper
In the early 1940s, Chico da Silva worked informally: he made small repairs and produced stoves at a time when butane gas did not yet exist. During this period, the artist used charcoal, shards of tile, and foliage to draw on the walls of houses at Praia Formosa, a beach located in the Pirambu neighborhood on the east coast of Fortaleza. In 1943, Swiss artist Jean-Pierre Chabloz (1910–1984) arrived in Ceará to work as a publicist for the “Rubber Campaign.” When he sought to learn about the art scene in Fortaleza, he was introduced to the wall drawings of Chico da Silva and went in search of the artist. When they met, Chabloz offered him paper and watercolor and commissioned some drawings, which would be the artist’s first artworks in this medium. These first works—the only ones we know from this period—already show a glimpse of his set of images and technique: they are mostly representations of birds on tree trunks, their bodies filled with small dots. However, perhaps due to limited resources, colors remain more sober, and the artworks’ dimensions are small. From the 1960s onwards, when Chico da Silva resumed painting and began working at the Art Museum of the Federal University of Ceará (MAUC), he produced artworks with new elements, which would give rise to his own iconography and a singular, vibrant chromaticism that made the artist famous.
Question from the art education program
How do the colors in Chico da Silva’s artworks make you feel?