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If you're too lazy to listen, you're probably dead
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Monday, July 19, 2010

Ambush from Rio de Janeiro!!!; Illustrating with RAFAEL HANSEN

Text & interview by Ivan Guerrero

Volume 3
Sun's burning, total dehydration and temperatures rising to the stratosphere.
There's no doubt summer is reaching its peak and for this particular situation it's important to get ready once again for fresh sounds to quench the thirst.
For this third installment, THE MALE MODEL MUSIC PROJECT is glad to introduce RAFAEL HANSEN, model, actor and illustrator from A Cidade Maravilhosa in Brazil!!
Showing off some of his work as illustrator, Rafael shared with us a music selection specially curated by himself for this project aswell.

When did you start illustrating?
Rafael: Well, since I worked as an actor/model for a long time, I started out as an illustrator for about two years now.

What techniques or materials do you use for your work?
Rafael: Mostly pencils for concepting and digital art like vector and Photoshop manipulation. Now I'm really into pin-up drawing, something that i always loved but I still have a lot to improve.

What can we see in your illustrations?
Rafael: For some reason I always want things to be happy, so I use lots of color and cheerful faces to get this feeling.

How do you describe your illustrations in 2 words?
Rafael: Cheerful thoughts.

How do you work an illustration? What's the process?
Rafael: Actually, I've been working on my family's mobile games and application development company for a while now and I got to do almost every step of a game design. I even do the audio sometimes...
We start with the whole character/game concept then I start to make lots of normal pencil sketches.
I usually like to scan it and then work it on Flash and Photoshop. I like to spend hours trying all sorts of colouring and art, but since it depends on the deadline Ican't take more than my usual 3-5 hours to finish a good image and around 12-16 hours to finish an splash animation.

Which one is your favourite illustration?
Rafael: The Sublime poster I made for my room. It has lots of the band references mixed up with my style, which resulted on a much happier sun than the Sublime's official one.

What movies, artists or characters inspire you?
Rafael: Well If I have to to pick one, then it's Jamie Hewlett. He really inspired me with his huge, impressive work on Gorillaz drawings and animations when I saw his work on London's Modern Art Museum, but there are many other artists that I love, such as Chris Sanders and Loopydave for their stunning pin-ups. Also comic book illustrators like brazilian's Luke Ross and Joe Madureira, who really inspired me when I was a kid...

Which one was your favourite cartoon when you were little?
Rafael: Definitely Ren & Stimpy. It was a really dirty, well-drawn and acid-humor cartoon that couldn't make it at that time, but I'm pretty sure that it inspired many major cartoons like Sponge Bob with his craziest disgusting-zooms and ultra bizarre grimaces.Which one is your favourite music genre?
Rafael:Well my first rated genre is definitely punk rock. But the truth is that, depending on the mood, I listen to all sorts of things like electronic, deep music styles such as dubstep to punk rock, indie and britpop bands.
Maybe that's why I love Sublime so much, cuz they manage to mix rap, ska, hip-hop, dub, punk rock, reggae and hardcore in one single style and guess what? It's awesome.

What's the influence of music in your work?
Rafael: It's nearly impossible for me to work without it. Music is life. I think it's the most universal art we got since it can clearly express an emotion to every kind of people around the world. I mean, you don't even have to speak the language to understand it, it doesn't even need lyrics to make someone cry, laugh or jump around, it's amazing! To me that's what art is all about: expressing feelings.

Do you have any futures projects concerning your illustration?
Rafael: I have various interests in life, such as photography, directing and acting (the lists goes on and on). I'm currently not satisfied with my drawing skills and have being working on it for a while now to improve it.
I'm willing to take it to another level and then dominate "After Effects". I'm deeply in love with this software's power and intend to work on audio-visual manipulations, improving my animation skills.

What do you think of the relation between music and fashion?
Rafael: I think that they're co-dependents since the visual concept created by the fashion designers always goes along with the spirit of the songs people are listening on that specific time and place in history. They have to point the same way to create an impressive identity that speaks to the minds of that particular generation.

How do you think illustration is helping fashion and music?
Rafael: Well, since a band nowadays can't exist without a full well-done image concept, the work of an illustrator/designer is crucial to maintain the music industry alive. In the fashion business obviously photography is dominant, but a brand isn't only clothing aspects.It depends directly on a perfect full visual identity, and that can only be done by a good team of designers.

What's your message for young people and new artists?
Rafael: Always believe in your work, no matter how difficult things look (specially if you are in Brazil)hehehe. Artists are one of the most important part of any society, believe it. Cheers!!!!

Drawing and chilling out with his favourite music tracks.

Among his activities, Rafael also plays the guitar.He's currently working on an acoustic project.

Rafael ( back, second from left to right) on a shoot for a book by Michael Roberts, featuring the hottest bodies of Rio.

Rafael gets dirty for Drops Magazine # 43
Photography by Lucio Luna.
Rafael is with 40 Graus in Rio.


1. Sublime - Badfish
2. Crystal Castles - Crimewave
3. Back Breaker - Hit The Lights
4. 311 - Come Original
5. Gorillaz - Tomorrow Comes Today
6. Beastie Boys - Flute Loop
7. Radiohead - Idioteque
8. Los Hermanos - Morena
9. The Starting Line - Playing Favourites
10. Millencolin - Lozin' Must
11. The Postal Service - Such Great Heights
12. Depeche Mode - Enjoy The Silence

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