Learn to Collage With Lisbon Artist Margarida Girão

Illustrations for the Portuguese magazine Visão Júnior.
Illustrations for the Portuguese magazine Visão Júnior. | © Margarida Girão
Photo of Nina Santos
1 February 2018

Margarida Girão may call herself a “self-proclaimed visual artist”, but she has certainly turned heads toward her unique and colorful world of collages, and there is in fact an entire community following her work, so much so that she now offers collage workshops in Lisbon, where she lives and works. Here is a little personal insight into her path as an artist, including what inspires her creativity.

Girão, an artist originally from central Portugal, has caught the attention of multiple media sources, including Portuguese television and radio, Time Out Lisboa, Brazil’s INFO Magazine, and the UK’s Digital Arts magazine. We asked her where she gets her inspiration, how she got into collage making, and what she could tell us about her next big project.

What about Lisbon inspires your work?

In January 2018, I was one week abroad, in a north European city. I am not the kind of person who feels saudades [melancholy or nostalgia] for anything: past is past, life goes on. But the last two days of my trip I was already missing Lisbon. Its sunny days and its light. Currently, I feel good here, and if I feel good, my work flows better.

Margarida Girão | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
The artist’s studio | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

Where do you go in Lisbon to seek inspiration?

I go to the clichéd places: walking along the river, or the Estoril–Cascais promenade. I am an early morning person. On my walk to the atelier, I pass a viewpoint where I can see the city, the bridge and the other side of the river. I love the thrill of the sunrise from here. It’s beautiful and I’m grateful for this daily moment.

Inspiring images | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
“Beauty concept compositions. I made this illustration using some of the jewelry pieces of my co-worker Anabela Matos.” | © Margarida Girão
Studio | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

Where can our audience see your work in Lisbon?

[At] the atelier that I share with seven female artists. PANDO Atelier is in Graça, a cozy and typical neighborhood. We always have [our] doors open to visitors, but it’s better to contact us before coming.

Tools of the trade | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
Collage for home décor. Vinyl format | © Margarida Girão

How did you get into making collages?

I did not know how to draw, so I [began making] collage. At the age of 11, I started cutting images from magazines and newspapers, and this was the beginning of my career. I already knew at that time I [wanted to] be a visual artist, as well as a war correspondent, when I grew up. I was communicating through collage, even if I didn’t know. Communication will always be my ignition.

Making a collage | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
Making a collage | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

What are your projects about?

I have been working in several areas: editorial to advertising and online, either for clients or as personal projects. I’ve been organizing collage workshops for two years, and recently, I started workshops about Lisbon for tourists and expats. My studies and background are in multimedia and web design. Last year, I attended a business mentoring program in order to learn and understand the business world. The aim is to be able to work only in visual arts and illustration.

Making a collage | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

Do you have a next big project?

I always have. I will die working. I love the thrill [of creating] something and all the challenges to make it true, not artistically speaking. That’s the easy part. I am working on a project related to décor; my collage illustration for big formats on walls.

Workshop | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
Materials | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

How can people get involved in your workshop?

In the Lisbon themed collage workshop for tourists and expats, we will explore graphic elements and themes about the city. I will explain how to collage and students will have several prints and magazines to work with. My other workshops have a theme: the next ones will be about love, travel, happiness, and erotism.

People don’t need to bring anything. Each person will have a collage kit, and there is always a snack. The pieces created during the workshops will be unique, and each participant will keep their own pieces as a reminder of the activity. Collage workshops are great for releasing stress and embracing your inner imagination. I am in love with these collage workshops and all the people who are coming to them. Seeing how people behave in the creative process has been very rich for me. We are all unique.

Collage for Vogue China. | © Margarida Girão
Making a collage | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

Where are your workshops?

At PANDO Atelier – Rua Particular à Manuel Soares Guedes, 7B, Lisboa (Graça). The workshop can happen in another place, to be agreed upon.

Workshop | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip
Workshop | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

What’s the Lisbon art scene like and how does it differ from other cities?

I do not have enough knowledge to compare to other cities. I only lived in Dili, East Timor, and São Paulo. The Brazilian city is another universe, and Dili, at that time, had other issues to solve. Recently, I read that Lisbon has become one of the hottest art capitals. No doubt that now is a good moment for the city.

Illustrations for the Portuguese magazine Visão Júnior. | © Margarida Girão
Margarida Girão | Marina Watson Peláez / © Culture Trip

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