portuguese talents

Earlier I dropped off my best friend at the airport (she’s going to Finland for a semester) and two of her friends came with us to say goodbye. I haven’t seen either of them in at least two or three years. One of them my best friend also hasn’t seen in a while, but he just wanted to come with us to say goodbye.

Okay so the last time I saw this guy, my best friend was still with her stoner boyfriend and he belonged to that clique of stoners. They never really did any hard or chemical drugs, mostly just weed or mushrooms or other shit I’ve never heard of. And he was such a charismatic guy - Portuguese, long hair, intelligent, talented (he was a fantastic pianist) and passionate (he was very opinionated and very political and very anti-fascist). When I think of his name, I just keep thinking of this charismatic young guy with that broad smile. 

My best friend warned me that he had changed a lot in the past few years - he had started doing harder drugs because at some point the weed just wasn’t enough anymore, his ideology of “no chemical drugs” was out the window. Many friends turned away from him because of what he was doing (except the one who was also with us at the airport) and he just downspiraled from there. If I remember correctly, he ended up jumping into a river in December after taking five different drugs, rehab, with a mysterious large scar on his wrist that nobody really knows where he got it from (though I can guess) and a drug induced psychosis. He’s hearing voices in his head and literally cannot function without medication. He’s slowly being introduced to society again and isn’t allowed to leave his house for more than 2 and a half hours. 

And then I met the aftermath today, and I am so incredibly shocked by what I saw. His long hair has been shaved off, the charisma gone, the smile gone, the intelligence gone. When we talked about politics, he didn’t participate. He kept losing track of the conversation, tried to get into the wrong train like 4 times, asked if some girl we had just talked about was going to Finland with her too (we talked about how she just got back from a semester in Italy), and his eyes were just wide and empty. Of course he was still very pleasant and nice and generous (he offered me his energy drink or to have his mother drive me home), but he’s a shell of the person he used to be, and it was so sad to see. It felt like the person I met just a few years ago is gone and replaced by a poor clone. I wonder how much of that person is still in him somewhere. He became a walking warning sign for “don’t do drugs”. It’s a sad example of what drugs can do to people.

In the meantime / Entretante © Paulo Rodrigues aka Paulo Impar :



Vanessa, Super Van or simply Van, the names can be many, but the style is unique. Vanessa is a bit of everything. She has studied graphic design, advertisement and illustration. 

Eternally unsatisfied and a perfectionist, illustration currently takes up most of her time and is ever more challenging. Drawings are mostly characters that forced her hand to give them life. They are hundreds already and they are around, screaming, dancing, flying or trying to pay the taxes.

Outside 2D life, Vanessa has her eyes constantly open, looking at images, conversations, particularities, which are then poured into her illustrations, as haiku poems that tell us in half words and half tones how people really are.

She has worked with Vodafone, TMN, Optimus, Edp, Playboy, Worten, WESC, Veuling, Clickair, Pampero, Maria Clementina from Compal, MTV and Computer Arts.