Fefe Talavera’s monster paintings are metaphors for strong and subconscious human emotions like anger, fear, dreams or desire. Inspired by the darkness and the light innate in the dualistic world we inhabit, the colourful fantastic beasts which she connects with the “dark side” of her inner self stand for the artist’s cultural roots as well as the primary and powerful energy of her work in the streets all over the world and the light she finds in the darkness.
Born in 1979 Fefe was brought up as a native half Mexican, half Brazilian in São Paulo. Interested in all kind of “underground” movements, the typical and unique stylistic freedom of the internationally renowned Street Art and Graffiti scene of her hometown made an important impression on the artist.
Her raw creative energy thus found much more correspondence in the angled, tribal‐like style she developed while working in the streets, than in her studies in fine arts which she finished with a Bachelor at the FAAP in São Paulo. Showing at galleries and accepting certain rules, limits and intolerance of the art market system represent a contradiction for Fefe who is mainly interested in finding public ways to express herself and a common way of communication.
As other artists from her generation she perceives São Paulo as a contemporary
megalopolis shattered by social, economical and ecological problems which had a harmful impact on the urban landscape. The public walls thereby remain one possibility of showing what is beautiful “inside” the strong personalities of the people living there. Street Art and Graffiti in South and Central America can as well be understood in the tradition of political mural art reflecting contemporary urban life (“Murales”).
Fefe, who is influenced by Mayan or Aztec mythologies and her Mexican heritage, is most well known for her monsters made of cut out letters from concert‐announcement posters found all around the streets. The glued collage‐like figures are related to the artist’s admiration for typography, books and prints, but also to her will to somehow “free” the letters from their fixed meaning as words, sentences or texts, by showing their formal qualities as well as by reminding us that all kind of language is rooted in the direct expression of human affects, not in the function to command them.
Even though the “letter‐monsters” became very popular because of their originality, Fefe returned mostly to her extensive vocabulary in painting and drawing in the last years. Having exhibited and participated in group projects all over the world ‐ p. e. in New York, Los Angeles, Moscow, Berlin, Vienna, Seville, Madrid and Amsterdam, to mention only a few, painting and visual arts remain the artist’s means of a very personal, intimate and poetic language.