"Art is essential in life, in mine it is inseparable, irreplaceable, inspiration and satisfaction."

Carlos Eduardo Franca dos Santos was born on March 31, 1976, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. At age four, he went to Angra dos Reis - RJ. Coastal city south of the state of Rio de Janeiro, where he lives today. Carlos Franca had a very good childhood, loved to spend his holidays at his grandparent's beach house. At age nine, he joined the boy scouts, and left at age 18 because of the difficulty with his mobility. When he was 11 years old, he noticed his first symptom, and was later diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy, a degenerative disease without cure and treatment, which over time causes difficulty in locomotion until it causes total paralysis.  Around the age of 15, until the beginning of adulthood, he had psychologically troubled moments, reflections of the disease. By this time, he was fully involved, participating in group exhibitions, painting salons and starting his professional career. Knowing that he could be totally paralyzed in the not too distant future, which is totally disheartening for anyone, that's when he decided to stop thinking about the immediate and future consequences (shifting the mental focus to something else, as it is impossible to forget the disease).  He began to focus only on living one day at a time, and dedicating himself totally to what he loves most, drawing.

Self-taught, definition of style began naturally in his childhood, in the process of learning by himself, which very much reflects the artist's way of being. When he decided to do canvas painting, he did not want to do it alone and sought to take a painting course to accelerate learning.  Hence, he took a two-master course in Angra dos Reis, D'andrea (In Memoriam) drawing course, and Ivo dos Remedios, drawing and painting course.  Both did not try to change his style, and afterwards he continued honing alone, but always attentive to advise and observing other works.

Already with a professional career, he has suffered and still experiences pressure to change his style, to be commercial, to do what is fashionable at the moment, but he has always remained firm and true to be himself. For Carlos Franca, all moments are important, because they are part of a trajectory.  But in the beginning, during his adolescence, he had a comic character drawing published in the newspaper O Globo on March 19, 1995, the first prize in a painting room and the first professional exhibition at the Angra dos Reis House of Culture - RJ in 1997.

He has participated in 24 solo exhibitions, 46 group exhibitions, and 56 salons, winning a total of 58 awards. Won 2 Hors Concours awards at the Clube Naval Salon - Rio de Janeiro. He participated in two collective exhibitions, one at the Federal Justice Cultural Center - RJ in 2010 and another collective at the Pernambuco State Museum in 2011. He was awarded the Medal Necklace of Cunhambebe - Athena Angrense of Letters and Arts, Angra dos Reis - RJ. And two by the City Hall of Angra dos Reis - RJ. Applause Motion and Medal of Brasil dos Reis Cultural Merit. He had works published in the Book Art a Very Special Look II and also in the magazine Veja (Veja Rio on March 24, 2010). He has worked in the collection of various institutions and is proud that he considers the greatest personality of his work, the writer Ariano Suassuna (In Memoriam) who was presented with a work by the Naval College, Angra dos Reis - RJ. And now, ARTMOIRE is Carlos Franca's first interview outside Brazil.

Carlos Franca’s artwork is a blend of perfection with those real details of life that accentuates the melancholic moments that sometimes we yearn to feel.  In a nutshell, life is captured.  From the perfection we all seem to seek, to the innocence that we inherently possess, yet are unaware of, to those memories that stir within us the deepest feelings we often don’t know how to express.  Carlos Franca grabs us by our hands and places before us a unique moment of truth.  A moment of opportunity to grasp a reality or to let it go.  The choice is always yours.  His art stirs within us a desire for what is the truth, for the nature in all.

Q. What role does the Artist/ Painter have in society?  

A. In my opinion, the artist's role is first to himself, to be true to his ideals, and free to transpose his feelings into his works, such as joys, frustrations, contestations, satisfaction, contemplation.  As a result, share to society a true message.

Q. What’s your best childhood memory?  

A. There were so many! I will cite a time, which explains a little of my strong connection with the sea, one of my favorite themes. My memories of when I was vacationing at the beach that belonged to my grandparents, in Ilha Grande, Angra dos Reis - RJ.

Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
 Although I love drawing since childhood (I was always sure that drawing would always be with me). My professional wish was to be an Air Force fighter pilot, but in my youth, I realized that it would not be possible.

Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?

A. I remember, a drawing of a running lion and a tree in the background, made with balls like pointillism, I was probably at most 7 years old because my first dated drawing was 10 years old. It's kept with me until today!

Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?

A. It started in childhood instinctively, since my first drawings, I’ve kept them all. With the growth I was naturally getting involved with, I realized how much I had completely surrendered to my art, was when people started calling me an artist.

Q. What does your art aim to express?  

A. First, my art has to pass on to me, satisfaction, pleasure, contemplation ... Consequently, the most diverse feelings will pass. Despite having a realistic painting, and when I paint a work just to portray a scene without intending to send a message, it’s impressive how the same work has many different interpretations by the viewer.

Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?

A. I wouldn't say a problem, but I think it's the fact that I'm reserved, and my convictions I hardly leave them.

Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?

A. Nothing, I started naturally, I grew up with her, and today I live for her.

Q. Who are your biggest influences, are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?

A.  As a child: cartoon and comic. At school time: great international and national masters. At the beginning of my career, some artists from my city with whom I was having contact. Nowadays, all these together and new artists that I get to know are for my inspiration.

Q. Is the artistic life lonely, what do you do to counteract it?

A. I would not say that the artist's life is lonely, in the sense of social loneliness. But it is often necessary to be lonely in the creative and productive process. I did nothing to combat this loneliness, if I may say so, relatively, I get along with loneliness because I am a reserved person.

Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?

A. Watching movies, documentaries, reading, watching sports, when possible sightseeing or traveling and doing something that I liked as a kid, but didn't practice, now doing as a hobby, in self-modeling.

Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?

A. Transpose your true feelings into works and not let yourself be influenced by market pressures and the likes or approvals of others.

Q. What does 'success' mean to you?

A. Success is relative and depends on the point of view, for some people it is to be financially successful, others to have assets, or to be recognized on the street ... Even more so today, with the potential of the internet, with the desires of many.  Success can be very futile. I have never sought success, but recognition, which is much more solid and concrete.

Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?

A. No matter where you go, how important, or what you have, at the end of your life, you show us that we are nothing, just a passage.

Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who?

A. Since I was young, I’ve had good advice during my career so far, but I had one at my first professional exhibition at the Poet Brasil dos Reis House of Culture in 1997, here in Angra dos Reis - RJ. It could have completely discouraged me, because it's not easy! But it taught me something fundamental in my artistic career, you have to be resilient. “Yeah, you're doing a good job, but if you're starting out doing exhibitions, thinking you're going to make money from it, give it up, look for a normal job.” Advice from a visitor.

Q. What advice would you give to the next generation?

A. I leave here a text by a Great Master of Brazilian painting, as advice, something that I have had in mind for a long time in my evolution. “What today's generations lack is the anguish of humility, of helplessness in the face of painting problems, which seem simple and incredibly large and complex. They are quickly satisfied with what they do and think they are teachers in their youth when they should be convinced that until old age, until death, they will be humble apprentices.” By Eliseu Visconti, 1866 -1944.