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Midnight Melancholy

Art by André Vieira Auer
Feature by Rob Carroll

André Vieira Auer spends eight hours a day with his sketchbook, diligently adding to the pages upon pages of darkly whimsical illustrations that almost feel like storyboards for an animated feature film set in a vaguely cyberpunk universe that has swapped out the typical urban nihilism for a cozy, countryside folklore that believes earnestly in a universal truth.

Shocked
Toy
Coat

André’s artistic influences include two landmarks of cyberpunk fiction in Blade Runner and Akira, so there’s no guessing where his interest in gritty, neo-noir futures comes from, but as is the case with all works of art, the issues at the heart of the created are entirely dependent on the time and place of the creator. So while Blade Runner shivers in its Cold War paranoia, and Akira trembles with atomic bomb PTSD, André’s work sighs softly beneath the weight of climate change, while yearning for an answer to the slow, methodical destruction of planet Earth.

André tells me that climate change and citizen surveillance are the two issues he tackles most in his artwork, because these two issues are having the greatest impact on the collective psyche of his generation. And while he admits that his main aim will always be to create work that is entertaining—to create thrilling visual stories that are filled with great characters and interesting worlds that the viewer can get lost in—he also recognizes that he will never fully divorce his work from the issues and the world that have shaped him as a person. And so, even when he doesn’t attempt consciously to incorporate subtext into his work, themes of privacy and climate change persist.

Fuel
Mermay
Climb

Many of André’s ideas come to him at night, during the quiet moments of late evening, and personally, I can see that reflected in his work. There’s a nocturnal element to his art that wouldn’t feel quite right if thought up while the sun was still high in the sky. The characters and worlds that André creates feel like dreams, and dreams are best cast against the moonlight as murky shadows, or hidden reliefs.

Perhaps my favorite element of André’s artwork is his beautiful use of negative space. The featureless whites and shapeless blacks only deepen the sense of dreamlike wonder by casting context into doubt, and shoving boundaries into the void. The spotlighted moment before you is captivating, but it’s still just a moment. The true marvel lies in the infinite possibilities beyond.

About the Artist

Images © 2020, André Vieira Auer

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