Portuguese designer duo Filipe Duarte and Joana Campos Silva are the masterminds behind the creative design and illustration studio The Red Wolf. Their colourful prints reflect their love for digital art, fashion, plants and animals. We sat down with Filipe over a glass of Porto’s finest, in a chat about the story behind ‘The Red Wolf’, their creative process and his theory on talking plants.
What is your favourite drink at Happy Hour?
The drink of my city: Port wine.
You live and work in Porto. What are your favourite places in town and why?
We love our city and it is impossible not to appreciate it when we visit. We like strolling through Ribeira and walking along the Douro River; the streets were built in the Middle Ages and there are many beautiful places where you can have lunch and enjoy a good port wine.
We also frequent other places, such as the Serralves Museum and Casa da Música. We always like heading to downtown Porto to visit the stores that sell our illustrations. Exploring this wonderful city is a must if you go to Portugal!
Tell us a little bit more about the name ‘The Red Wolf’. What does it mean to you?
Both ‘Peter and the Wolf’ and ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ are simple, rich and classic stories. Like these stories, we wanted our brand to be memorable and carry a meaningful message. At first, we came up with the name ‘Wolf and I’, but it didn’t quite fit everything we wanted to convey. The red wolf is an endangered species native to North America. Our name pays tribute to this. It’s also an animal that has been present in many stories throughout our lives.
How did your designs change over time and what lessons did you learn along the way?
Looking at what we have created with The Red Wolf so far not much has changed because the brand is only 8 months old. As an illustrator, I've dabbled in many different things. At age 5 I loved drawing cyclists and buildings that were under construction. At 11 I designed my own car brand and by the time I was 18 I was doing a lot of banda desenhada. I took a long break from drawing from when I was 22 until I was 36. One of the reasons I co-founded The Red Wolf was because I was eager to start drawing again. And creating this brand with my wife Joana posed the perfect opportunity to get back into it.
Who or what are you inspired by?
We invest a lot of time searching for images that are related to the concepts we develop. Anything can serve as inspiration, from fashion editorials to blogs to photographs. We draw references from many places. Currently, women and nature are two of our biggest sources inspiration. Love can bring these two elements together in many different ways.
Describe your creative process. How does a new piece of artwork take shape from start to finish?
It all starts with a very large search. We always try to have a simple idea for an illustration, but the simplest ones are usually very complex to achieve.
Once we have an idea we look for many images or take photographs so we have a framework or a structure to work from. We do many studies until we reach the final version. When we finish the drawing phase, we send it to friends and family asking for feedback. This is the most important phase of the entire process to us, because if they do not like it, we do not continue working on it. We value people’s opinions very highly.
When have a finished a drawing on the iPad, we continue working on it on the computer where we add color. This is a job that only Joana does. It is a very challenging task because we use only a small number of colors in each illustration. When that’s done, we share it with our friends and family again. Only then is the illustration finished.
In many of your designs, trees are merged with people. If these beings could talk, what would they say?
What a curious question! If they could talk, they might say that nature should always be treated with the respect a woman deserves. Nature and women are the two greatest mothers of our planet.
Which of the artworks you sell on JUNIQE is your favourite?
Honestly, we do not have a favorite illustration. The stories are made by the people who buy our illustrations, many have told us things like “This woman is me when I was younger” or “This woman has the same style as me”. When people talk about your work a lot, you start to feel as though the work almost does not belong to you. Each illustration tells a different story to each person and that makes us very happy.
Red or green?
Red without a doubt.
Thank You Filipe!