Articulate Q&A: OSGEMEOS

OSGEMEOS (literally, "the twins," in Portuguese) is a Brazilian visual art duo comprised of Gustavo and Otavio Pandolfo. Operating under the philosophy "to feel first and to understand later," the Pandolfos fuse whimsical characters with social and political commentary to create their large-scale murals all over the world.

The São Paulo natives began painting graffiti in 1987, and have since created hundreds of murals and tags throughout Europe, Asia, North America, and South America. They’ve also produced fine art pieces (some of which have sold for over $100,000), and even collaborated on a scarf design with Louis Vuitton. But while their work has taken them around the globe, their primary goal is still to express their inner world—bursting with imagination, color, and a sense of community.

Below, Gustavo and Pandolfo talk about collaboration, the role of emotion in their work, and their relationship with public space.

There's a lot of duality present in your work—wakefulness and dreams, past and future, reality and surreality, illusion and truth. How much of this is the result of being twins?

We believe that the fact that we are twins comes before anything. We live in a world where we create inside our heads. We have discovered this world together, the two of us—and we live and share it with the people.

What do each of you individually bring to the creative process?

Our creative process is together. We think the same things and have the same creative desires.

Have you noticed a shift in the way people engage with your work in public spaces over the course of your careers?

The street is always a surprise.  You are susceptible to everything and everybody. But the street has taught us how to discover a city, how to use a city, how to respect people, how to open windows to our world. We’ve met amazing people in the streets. It’s like a school!

In 2007, OSGEMEOS painted this mural on Scotland’s Kelburn Castle.

In 2007, OSGEMEOS painted this mural on Scotland’s Kelburn Castle.

There's a lot of emotion present in your work, but also, it seems, a lot of calculated intention behind it. Is your process guided more by thinking or feeling?

Our process is 100% pure feeling, done with love, even though there is the contesting side of it. We love everything we paint.

Inanimate objects like buttons, shoes, radios, and spray cans come to life in your art. Why?

Our start in the 80’s was with hip-hop! It’s natural to have those elements in our work, such as music, dance, DJs, and graffiti. But we were always aware of opening to other universes. That’s why we started producing sculptures, installations, shows in galleries and museums. It was another way of [making] this universe more accessible to people.

How do you get yourselves out of existential crises?

We focus on our mission here on Earth!

Another OSGEMEOS original, featuring colorful characters. This one’s in Stockholm, Sweden.

Another OSGEMEOS original, featuring colorful characters. This one’s in Stockholm, Sweden.