Matheus Lopes Castro’s Illustrations: Drowning in a Sea of Watercolour Beauty

Anyone who has attempted to master painting with watercolours in art classes at school knows how difficult it is to control the flows of liquid colour on paper, canvas or any other medium. Taking this control one step further and mastering the principles of watercolour transparency in mixed digital media with competent creativity can be even more inspirational and admirable. This is what the young and talented designer Matheus Lopes Castro accomplishes so brilliantly.

The Style Examiner came across Matheus’s designs while navigating the Threadless website for printed T-shirts. Our personal view is that printed T-shirts with slogans and all sorts of written messages are something that belong to one’s childhood or teenage years, when typefaces and basic messages are more important than creative designs, patterns, textures, and subtle communication of meanings. However, even if we are not big fans of the printed word on a T-shirt, we were immediately and completely drawn to the immense talent produced by the community of designers on the Threadless website. So especially enthralling was Matheus’s designs that we could not resist buying a particular T-shirt with a seductive pattern and colours that caught our attention. When the T-shirt arrived, it confirmed that it is indeed a fine piece of printed art on fabric.

Matheus hails from Brazil, where he was born in 1986. Inspired by drawing and painting from an early age, he has been drawing regularly since he was fourteen and, over the years, has allowed himself to indulge in assemblage paintings. As a teenager, he did a three-year course in comics/cartoon drawing and went on to graduate from a degree in graphic design at FUMEC University in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, in 2009. He came across a Brazilian online fashion community of T-shirt designers and decided to give it a try to help expose his designs to a wider audience. Applying his talent to fashion apparel was definitely a smart move as has had significant exposure through his fabric designs for Design by Humans, won Best Design several times at Threadless, and had designs commissioned by The Imaginary Foundation.

Although design seemed to have catapulted Matheus’s career amongst fashion lovers, his ambition is to widen his field of creative output. To this end he has produced work in branding design and taken part in several international design competitions. He has designed jewellery that got him to receive the Winning Design award at Tattooed Steel for his bracelets, and has also seen his work published in poster format and in several magazines, such as Empty Mag, Ideafixa, Zupi, and Computer Arts Br.

His designs are clearly yet subtly, inspired by a Manga sensibility and a tradition of watercolour mastery. Examples of flowing water, rain imagery and free or captive birds abound in his designs. The result is a breathtaking range of designs achieved by mixing media in order to illustrate ideas of ebbing and flowing creativity and individual abandonment in a psychedelic landscape of absent space. In this backdrop of non-existent boundaries, human subjects exist in flowing colour or are carried through space by birds, floating in a colourful horizon of expectation.  

The Style Examiner strongly believes that Matheus Lopes Castro deserves to be a name to remember in the world of fashion and graphic design and we very much hope that his talent is nurtured and supported not only in sartorial environments but in many other creative industries.