Who are you/ what’s your project?

My name is Rodrigo Branco, but I go by Branqo. I’m originally from Brazil and have lived in London since 2016. I work on different art direction projects as a freelancer, but my main one is Homostash, which is a queer party created and run in East London.

What’s your gender identity?

I am a cis gay man.

What’s your art?

My professional background is as an art director in fashion advertising. But in the past 3 years I jumped out of that box and realised I could do much more with my creative vision. I usually say that I am an “image maker” because I like to use different media to create a message. Whether it’s art directing a shoot, doing photography/ videography or graphic design, I use visual elements to convey an idea. I’ve recently started to play with scans juxtaposed with photos and moving image too. It feels a bit experimental and makes me feel very free in terms of creativity.

How does your queerness influence your art ( if it does)?

Queerness is 100% embedded in everything I do. From the inspirations I normally use – which include vintage erotica, alternative cinema, art and music – to the way I build my imagery, queerness is a crucial component for me. Having it in mind is the only way I can create things that are close to my personal aesthetic, but also how I can use my work to represent and talk to the people I want my art to resonate with. My idea is that we need to be constantly reinforcing our queer identity in different ways so we never forget how far we’ve come and how powerful we are.

How has lockdown/ quarantine influenced your artistic creation?

First of all I had to find alternative ways to express myself visually. In the beginning of lockdown I did a series of images of myself and things around me as there was no other subject to shot. I did one photo a day for 30 days. Now looking back on this visual diary I produced around 6 months ago I see there are so many hidden layers there: loneliness, anxiety, anger, sadness, self-awareness, contemplation, poetry and some beauty too. And I feel like these are some of the things that a lot of creative people are having to deal with during this unprecedented situation. It’s unsettling, but it can take you to places you never thought you could explore before. The second thing is I try to be much more aware of the things I create these days because I want them to have some sort of significance. Maybe they won’t have the impact I intended them to, but at least I know I just didn’t gratuitously put something silly out there when there’s so much horror happening in the world. And lastly I delved more into some technical aspects of my work. I’ve used some of that time to do a lot of research and have learned a lot. I used some of that extra time also to create a zine for Homostash. It was an idea that had been around for a while but was never executed because there always were other things going on. You can find it under Homostash Diaries

How would you describe what your art is about or what the purpose of it is ( if there is a particular one)?

What I currently do has a strong connection with the underground nightlife scene in London. I try to approach it with beauty and softness because that’s the way I see things. My fashion background has an important role in it too as I always incorporate it in my images. I am not only limited to that space of clubs (especially now), but that’s how I began experimenting more with creating images in the past years. I do a lot of portraiture too and that started with me shooting models for the Homostash posters. Then I realised I could do a lot more with that skill. I love to photograph people and capture their mood. I’d describe my photography as having a certain voyeuristic element to it. Sometime it’s like the subject is approachable because you can see their essence, but not tangible. I want my images to gravitate between dream and reality. In terms of purpose, I believe that no matter what you do in life it’s important to be current and aware of the world we live in. So representation and inclusiveness are definitely key elements to my creations.

Where do we know you from?

You’ve definitely seen me on the dance floor, mainly at Superstore or Egg, either snapping a photo or trying to dance. I’m not a great dancer, but I do my best.