I met Fernando back in 2014 when I was on contract with Vancouver Fashion Week as a publicist and he was volunteering with VFW in many areas! It was at this time that I first noticed Fernandos very unique flair and style of photography coupled with his strong ethic, gentle nature and humility which is rare to find. One of the projects Fernando produced for VFW was a series of photos based on Vancouver's fashion bloggers. The piece was curated for Vancouver Fashion Week & titled "Vancouver Cool Hunters" which was featured in the Province News. It was during this project I saw Fernando's colourful funky style began to manifest into what is now (in my opinion) his signature style.
Over the years following Fernandos work as well as his creative journey, it has been really beautiful to see how he has grown as an artist and also how he is using his artistic talents to create a more inclusive art world while giving back to the LGBTQIA+ community.
Fernando is the real deal, by that I mean he does not shy away from hard work and ensuring that all of the meticulous details are covered when he produces a project. That being said I wanted to showcase his most recent and very popular project "The Drag Series" which is very well curated and deserves far more recognition than I can provide here but I hope through this interview you get an opportunity to learn more about Fernando as well as his work and possibly find a way to collaborate with him or support him!
Ottawa Arts News - Who are you? What can you tell us about yourself? Where did you grow up?
FC - "My name is Fernando, I am 26 years old and I was born in Brazil but currently living in Vancouver, Canada. I grew up between Maceio and Recife, two cities on the beach side of the Brazilian northeast. I went to university for communications with a major in advertising. I have also completed a post degree specialization in marketing. Most of my career has been based on that - I've worked for 8 years in the marketing industry while also doing photography".
Ottawa Arts News - What other artistic mediums do you practice with?
FC - "I focus mostly on photography and have started dabbling in video as well".
Ottawa Arts News - How long have you been doing photography and what are you favourite cameras to shoot with?
FC - "I have been doing photography as long as I can remember, I received my first camera as a birthday gift when I was 10 years old. Professionally, I have been working with it since 2012. One of my first cameras was a Nikon D50, a very long time ago, but after that I transitioned into Canon and been with them ever since. I currently only use a Canon 6D".
Ottawa Arts News - What was your inspiration for the Drag Series?
FC - "There were multiple factors that led me to create "The Drag Series". During my career as a photographer, ever since I started working professionally with it I had never stopped to do any project or creation of my own, I was always focused on the demands and needs of my clients, which required very little creative input from me - it was more like following corporate orders. Also, throughout my entire career as both marketer and photographer I had never worked with anything queer related, and any LGBTQIA+ ideas were quickly shut down by corporate.
I started getting interested in drag when I lived in Vancouver for a year, in 2014. I wasn't even aware of the show RuPaul's Drag Race by then, but started going to a lot of drag shows. I moved back to Brazil between 2014-2018 and was still very invested in the drag scene.
The idea to start "The Drag Series" came from 1) wanting to do a project of my own, 2) wanting to work with and give back to the queer community and 3) my growing interest in the drag scene. I have started The Drag Series in May/2016 and it has been an on going project ever since.
Ottawa Arts News - How has the public responded to this project?
FC - "The public has been amazing, I never thought the project would grow to be what it is today. My followers are very loyal, engaged and always show their support. I am very grateful for all of these people that found an interest in it".
Ottawa Arts News - Do you feel supported in the work you do?
FC - "Absolutely, there is a lot of support from all the community. Drag artists who go out of their way to create out of this world looks just for their photos on the project, event organizers who help me meet talent from out of the city, people that offer their own places to host the photoshoots and more".
Ottawa Arts News - What else do you aspire to do and hope to accomplish through your art?
FC - "I hope to keep it going for a long time, being able to visit many different cities and countries to register different drag communities through The Drag Series. I want to keep growing and expanding".
Ottawa Arts News - How can the artistic community support you?
FC - "There's many ways to support! Spreading the word is always the best way - engaging through social media, sharing with other friends, telling people about it. Media articles like this one are also amazing to increase awareness, and a great way of supporting is when someone has contacts in media/press and is able to connect me with them to further promote it. I have moved back to Canada just over a year ago and been wanting to further expand my presence in North America, so every support here counts to reestablish myself in a new country".
Ottawa Arts News - How do you overcome adversity and move around roadblocks? Is there a particular tool or practice you use to ground or motivate yourself?
FC - "I wish I could speak more on overcoming obstacles but I'm currently stuck on one! I've been feeling burnout after being non stop with the project for the last 3 years. Ever since moving to Canada I have been struggling trying to keep my day job, school and the project going. As the project is a non-profit thing, it started to not be my first priority. I've been finding hard to keep motivated and keep putting content out now that my other responsibilities have increased, but I do it whenever there is free time.
There was some adversity in the beginning, more in the sense of family members or friends not understanding why I'm doing this or why I am "wasting my time" according to them. I just ignored that and kept pushing. As the project started getting more media attention, I quickly noticed some of these skeptics turning into believers haha!".
Ottawa Arts News - What encouragement and support can you offer to others who are looking to express themselves and may not know how to or fear being ridiculed as a result of stepping and being bold with their art?
FC - "Ignore whoever isn't supporting you and find a support group that will motivate you. Reach out to other artists and start creating".
Ottawa Arts News - Can you share a cool story with our readers about connecting with others through the Drag Series?
FC - "I connect with so many people through "The Drag Series", it's truly something life changing to someone who is an introvert like me. I would hardly ever meet or talk with this many people! In Brazil people used to come to me all the time to introduce themselves, even at night clubs or other gatherings, just to talk about the work I do. It also happened quite a few times here in Canada and it really helps a newcomer to the country like me feel like a part of the community".
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