Carlos Sena Caires has been calling Macau his home while working as an assistant professor and coordinator for the Department of Design, Faculty of Creative Industries at the University of St. Joseph. Having attained a doctorate in Aesthetics, Science and Technology of the Arts from the University of Paris, France, he was also a full member teacher of the Catholic University of Portugal. Teaching and creating art are two worlds he has combined in his life. He is exhibiting his work at the Barcelona X Macao Art of Illustration Exhibition, bringing together illustrators from Macau and Spain.
Can you trace a bit of your background and connection to Macau?
I am from Portugal in the middle of the Atlantic on an island called Madeira. I studied for a bachelor degree in design. I’m a graphic designer. I lived in France for 15 years before I went to Madeira. Then, I came to Porto to study for a masters degree in digital arts and that was also when I started working at the Catholic University of Portugal. A few years later, I did a Ph.D. in Paris. I came to Macau as a visiting professor. I came here to teach in the Design Department of Faculty of Creative Industries.
I used to come as visiting professor to teach essentially in communications and media department on post-production, video motion, and graphics for students. Last year, I arrived in Macau to be a full professor and the dean invited me to stay one year more to be the coordinator of the faculty department.
How did you get involved in the art scene and this exhibition in Barcelona, Spain?
As a young boy, I liked to draw and I decided I want to go to a fine arts school. I decided to do graphic design studies and have been doing that all my life. Teaching in the same field eventually took its course in my life. Even when I have done exhibitions before, this is my first time to showcase my illustrations. I worked for a newspaper in Madeira for four years as an illustrator and then as a graphic designer so my experience from illustrations was molded there. I heard about this exhibition before. And the contact came from Alvaro who is the Dean of the Faculty, who invited me to participate in this exhibition.
This exhibition is about connecting two cities that are so far away—why is this connection important and why has the art scene became the medium of choice?
I discovered from the first exhibition that there are no frontiers in the art of illustrations. It is very universal. There is no barrier and I cannot recognize the difference of illustrators from Milan, Barcelona, Macau and other places. There is no difference but the big idea is to bring together artists and do collaborations and try to promote Macau and other cities.
Can you tell us more about your work that will be displayed?
I will be displaying two illustrations that I did in digital form. It involved drawing on an iPad Pro, with a software called Procreate, with use of digital paint. Nothing was done on paper. It’s about my personal impression of, and reflection on, Macau. It also highlights my principles on illustrations. For me, Macau is a contrasting city so I try to put it in the illustrations. For me, it represents two worlds of luxury and poverty and brings together two ideas. There is also this kind of magic in Macau so it’s important to emphasize the vibrant lights of the city and transport all of these reflections into my work.
You are also the author of a few books—what makes that creative process different from art?
On the papers and research side, you always have someone to judge you and peers reviewing your work. It follows a certain methodology, so there are constraints in terms of artistic work. There is more freedom with art but in a way difficult too. For instance, with these two illustrations—the digital world is organic and you can always change what you’ve done. The challenge is to find the final work because there were so many versions of what I did.
How do you find the Macau art scene? What could be done to better improve it?
I don’t know the Macau art scene very well as much as I’d want to. I know for a fact that there are some good exhibitions at the contemporary museum of art. I think we should put our efforts in the digital world and try to bring Macau new types of art expression like; interactive arts and new kinds of interphases, tangible interphases using augmented reality, visual reality, new trends and new emerging technology that could be explored more. We are still too traditional here in Macau in what I seemingly observe in galleries.
When: October 17–29, 2017
Where: Rui Cunha Foundation Gallery, GF 749 Avenida da Praia Grande, Macau
How much: Free admission