ITALO – Deliria Tropicae / ItaloT

Italo is a Brussels-based Brazilian maker/creator – director, performer, filmmaker, photographer… He describes himself as a beach boy who came from a paradise where dreams were the only destination out. Describing himself also as a multidisciplinary artist, Italo initially dived into art by performing, gradually shifting his explorations to “the other side of the cameras”.

There, he gave birth to his own universe – Deliria Tropicae.

Today, Italo mostly focuses on photography, installations, and filmmaking but claims that performing is still waiting for the right moment to be awakened again. Only this time more in a format of a play, such as “What They Say,” the piece he created with a friend and presented in 2021.

Here is a full interview with Italo:

How did you get into different forms of art?

I believe it was a natural process for me. I was always very into different kinds of artistic expressions, but ultimately, the possibility of creating something that a lot of people would see, regardless of their location, made me go 100% on the construction of images.

Back in Brazil, my family didn’t allow me to be an artist. I needed to be the perfect boy who would eventually provide for the household, so I started working very early from the age of 10. It might sound wrong, but necessity was knocking on the doors, and work was the only way out.

Prior to Brussels, I was a scholar, working with discourse analyses and doing research at the university. Afterwards, I became frustrated because I lost an important scholarship and decided to study Law and shortly after Political Science as well.

However, my teachers and professors were always a bit annoyed with my creativity, and soon enough I had to say goodbye to all of the formalities, so I started doing drag; I started dancing, acting, and I started investing all of my earnings in art and future projects.

Somehow, I still felt incomplete. I would go to the cinema and cry in anger because I would feel as if the other directors have done my ideas before me.

Eventually, (as most of us do), I changed my mindset about my inertia about the artistic expression and started filming during pandemics.

Leo, from LĒO-Official, called me and said: “Hey, come to my set, I think you can make something out of this with us.” Suddenly, there I was, creating a full campaign for an international brand. It was just the fuel I needed to lift my instinct for filming. I remember the first time we filmed, we only had 20 minutes to shoot the scene because it was freezing cold. It was all a big adventure, but a nice one.

Soon enough, I started making music videos, and slowly, I dived into photography. Within Deliria Tropicae, I am in a full speed creating mode.

With all the different forms of art you are creating – What does art mean to you?

Everything. I don’t think I was supposed to do anything else than what I do.

I am anxious, by nature. I work on it every day, all the time, but the noise from the anxiety doesn’t go away. Only when I have a camera in my hands or when I am performing – there’s silence. Complete and absolute calmness, clarity of the mind and concentration. In those moments, I feel as if nothing could get me out of focus.

Where do you find your inspirations?

Places, people, and most recently, moments of my life.

I create in between the relationships of those 3 things, but when I am working with other artists, I try to navigate their universe and whatever makes them what they are. I try to also allow them to grasp what their inspirations are while being a sort of an art medium.

My expo titled “THERE HERE” is an example of that. I was missing my hometown so much that I decided to go around Brussels and find locations where Latinos were concentrated.

On my way to a friend’s house in Forest, I decided to pass by the middle of the park, and I smelled something I haven’t smelled since I was a kid – something from when I was 7 years old. Burning grass mixed with flying sand. Suddenly, I was taken back to my hometown Fortaleza on a Sunday morning when my cousins would take me with them to play football. There, I hated this wildly pure male environment, but I did like the hotdogs and the smell of burning grass. I couldn’t believe I found the very same environment in the middle of the Forest Park. Football and foot volleyball, the smell of food and burning grass on a hot summer day (global warming made Belgium feel somehow tropical on the hottest summer days). To top it off, I played myself a 90’s Brazilian funk playlist my best friend sent me. I sat down and lived the moment for a few minutes just to feel as if I was 7 again.

From that moment on, I made a love letter to Brussels. I understood that I could find the same sensations from the past, right here in Belgium and finally feel integrated after 10 long years. There in that very moment, a beautiful video and an installation were born.

Which moments do you aim to capture with your lenses?

Currently, I am working on a project inspired by African-Brazilian religions and their holy bodies. My current obsession is finding expressive models who can translate my interpretation of these entities called Oríxas. This might turn into my new expo. But since my process is not so linear, I also want to explore music videos. I am very motivated and moved by music, and luckily, I have been contacted by some artists who inspire me a lot.

Who do you look up to? (it could be anybody or anything)

Countless people and things! However, there are three motives that are very much in my head at the moment.

An actress from Brazil called Fernanda Montenegro, I love her commitment to the build-up of characters. Another one is Britney Spears, whose videos from the early 2000s made me think there was more to my life than just what I could reach back then. I believe that in those moments I started my crazy obsession with music videos.

When thinking of cinema, I would definitely say Almodóvar and his incredible universe of magic and vulnerability.

What is the common denominator to all the three artists – Vulnerability. That is what I look up to. Montenegro, Spears, and Almodóvar are all vulnerable and unafraid to show it. They give it their all. They are 100% committed to their craft and their destiny.

What are your future projects we should be excited about?

My newest expo is called “The Making Of.” It is a duo expo of two filmmakers, my friend Shelbatra Jashari & myself (ItaloT). It will be held at Nadine, a Brussels-based laboratory for contemporary transdisciplinary art from 29 Feb 2024 until 24 Mar 2024. It will mark my maturity in producing images but also give people a bit of my inner spiritual experience. I will also be presenting my previous installation “There Here”.

What do you like the most about Brussels and what would you like to see more of in Brussels?

What I like the most is the possibility of connecting with people. It’s a microcosmos on its own. I also like how alternative Brussels can be. It is full of artists, and I have the pleasure of knowing a lot ofthem.
What Brussels need is more colors and less violence between different groups of people. However, I feel we are going to find peace and diplomacy soon. It’s getting better with time. I see peopleworking for it.

Find ItaloT here and Deliria Tropicae here

Photos : ItaloT