- April 2, 2015
It all started with a sketch of He-Man. Sitting in church as a child, Richie Brasil watched in awe as his cousin quickly illustrated the cartoon character on the back of an offering envelope, and he's been hooked ever since.
"I don't know if it was my childlike imagination, but I saw color," he says. "I saw shading; I saw everything. Ever since then, I've been drawing every day. At that age, I'd never seen anything like that, and it baffled me. How did this person do that — out of nothing? I had to be able to do that."
It wasn't long before his interest in art progressed beyond pencil and paper. Growing up in Boston, Brasil says he was introduced to street art at a young age, and it immediately resonated with him. The transition from pencil to spray can was a natural one.
"There were a lot of other things I could've gotten into besides graffiti," he says. "Thank God for graffiti — I think it gave me a sense of purpose."
In street art, Brasil found a medium through which he could express himself, pose questions about humanity and start a dialogue.
"I think thats why I like to focus on people in my portraits," he says. "Even if you can't directly relate to the person in this mural, it's still a human being, and it's conveying emotion. Sometimes, it's not so much what I'm painting, but how the piece makes you feel."
Since moving to Sarasota, Brasil has continued to develop his skills, commissioning work in Sarasota and Bradenton at businesses such as JDub's Brewing Co., Keeton's Office and Art Supply and in people's homes.
"When you want a piece in your home from me, it's so flattering," he says. "It makes me feel so good. It's better than the gallery, because you want me to come into your home and personal space to paint something on your wall. That means so much to me."