Interview with AKACorleone and Kruella D’Enfer: How Creative Projects Are Shaping Lisbon's Cultural Landscape

Building Mural © Courtesy of AKACorleone
Building Mural © Courtesy of AKACorleone
Photo of Nina Santos
6 May 2017

Lisbon’s embrace of street art has attracted many talented artists—including the creative power couple composed of Pedro Campiche and Angela Ferreira, otherwise known as AKACorleone and Kruella D’Enfer. Below read more about their backgrounds, inspiration, and how they’ve transformed the Portuguese capital into the colorful destination it is today.

Where are you both from? Where did you study art?

Kruella D’Enfer: I’m originally from Tondela, a small city in the center of Portugal. I grew up there until I went to college to study cinema, video and multimedia communication in Lisbon. After a while, I chose another degree and another school in a city one hour from Lisbon. I dropped out when I found out I was really passionate about drawing, and I started to teach myself illustration.

AKACorleone: I was born and raised in the beautiful city of Lisbon and I studied graphic design at the IADE – Creative University.

Mural by Kruella d'Enfer | © Courtesy of Kruella d'Enfer

How did you meet and how would you describe each other?

Kruella D’Enfer: We met via Facebook seven years ago, through mutual friends, and discovered that we had a lot of stuff in common. [After some time] Pedro decided to come and live with me in Caldas da Rainha. After a while, we moved to Lisbon. Pedro always makes me laugh, and he also pushes me [to do my best] and to be a better person. He has a lot of knowledge and he’s a very talented little guy. (laughs)

AKACorleone: We started talking online and suddenly I was living with Angela at a city near Lisbon where she was studying. Angela is one of the most creative and fearless people I know—super inspiring to be around and always supportive of my work, which always made me push myself and improve.

Wall mural | © Courtesy of AKA Corleone

When did you move to Lisbon?

Kruella D’Enfer: We moved to Lisbon about four years ago. We rented a small apartment, where we lived and worked, but after a year we decided to move to Thailand for six months. After that, we returned to Lisbon and rented a bigger flat with proper studio space.

AKACorleone: I lived in Lisbon until I met Angela, then I went to live with her in Caldas da Rainha, then Barcelona and Bangkok. I’ve been based in Lisbon again for three years now.

Wall Mural | © Courtesy of Kruella d'Enfer

Which art pieces are you most proud of?

Kruella D’Enfer: I’m proud of most of my murals, just because there’s always a lot of work involved. But I’m really proud of the one I did in Cascais, for the Muraliza Festival, because it was a problematic neighborhood and I conquered their hearts with my art. It still is my favorite wall, so far.

AKACorleone: I think I am, first of all, proud of my path until now. I worked hard to do what I love for a living, but some projects definitively marked my career so far. My first solo show with Underdogs Gallery in Lisbon, back in 2014, was the turning point on many levels, so it has a special place in my heart. In Lisbon, I guess each mural I paint has a special feeling because although they age or decay, people still enjoy it, take pictures, say nice things about it, and it makes me feel like I am a part of the city.

Large wall mural | © Courtesy of AKA Corleone

Which art pieces, that are not your own work, do you like the most? Are there other artists in Lisbon whose work you enjoy following?

Kruella D’Enfer: I love the work of Felipe Pantone, Cleon Peterson, Parra, the sculptures from Kaws, Aryz, and the paintings from James Jean. Other artists who I enjoy following from Lisbon include: Vhils, Mário Belém, AKACorleone, Lord Mantraste, Halfstudio, and Diogo Machado.

AKACorleone: Nowadays I am very interested in artists like Katharina Grosse, Daniel Arsham, and Carlos Cruz Diez, but the list is constantly changing and evolving. Every day I get to know new artists based in Lisbon who impress me. But if have to choose a few from this city I would say Vhils, Bordalo II, Kruella D’Enfer, Lord Mantraste, and many more.

Building art | © Courtesy of Kruella d'Enfer

How are street art and the general art scene shaping Lisbon’s cultural landscape?

Kruella D’Enfer: It’s bringing a new way to approach the city. There are a lot of tourists dedicated to street art nowadays, and most of the murals are not in the city center. So you can see tourists and people who are interested in unusual parts of Lisbon, which is positive and helps to improve these hidden or sometimes forgotten areas.

Also, I think street art brings joy to people. There are new murals constantly being done and people enjoy to see the process and meet the artists live in action, which doesn’t happen in an art gallery, for example. It’s a way to change the routine and the way that the city looks.

AKACorleone: Lisbon is becoming one of the most important cities when it comes to street art and it is amazing to be a part of this moment. Seeing new murals every day, witnessing new and bigger international artists coming here to paint, more galleries, and more culture, it just makes this city more and more interesting.

Who/what inspires your artwork?

Kruella D’Enfer: I like to draw natural elements inspired by nature and give it a surrealist twist in dreamy scenarios. I always create colorful compositions, play with mythological creatures, and imagine the story or the reasons behind every artwork I create.

AKACorleone: My inspiration comes from almost everything that surrounds me, but somehow my personal experiences and thoughts keep appearing in my work—sometimes knowingly, sometimes it’s my subconscious playing tricks on me.

Building art in Viseu, Portugal | © Courtesy of Kruella d'Enfer

Is there anything else that we should know about Lisbon’s art scene? Are there upcoming events/exhibition that locals and tourists should visit?

Kruella D’Enfer: There are the street art tours that are very popular nowadays. Underdogs Gallery is one of my favorite galleries in Lisbon since it represents and exhibits a lot of amazing artists, like Felipe Pantone, Okuda, Pixelpancho, and soon Shepard Fairey.

I’ll have my own solo show on May 4 in Principe Real, inside a cozy attic space called the Art Room.

AKACorleone: You should definitely check Angela’s new show. Also, visit the Underdogs Gallery because they always work with cool artists. You should also get lost in the city and find hidden murals, new galleries, and cool spots that are found when you are just wandering around town.

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