Photo by Lucien Samaha - New York
Interview with Gazelle: Performance Art Extraordinaire.
Carpazine:Give the readers some background information about yourself!
Gazelle:I was born on Christmas day in Teresina (Piaui), in the Northeast of Brazil. Most of the time I feel I was born on the wrong time; sometimes I wish I should have lived in the past and other times I feel it would have been nice to exist in a distant future. And that goes for my parents also.
Carpazine:When did you decide to become an artist?
Gazelle:That was never a decision to be made, however, the very first time I did drag during carnival in Rio, I enjoyed very much the reaction I received from all kinds of people. I felt this enormous power over that audience as I was making them smile, while shocking them at the same time. I was 17 years-old and I have never stopped ever since.
Carpazine:Tell us about your performance career?
Gazelle:I believe every time I dress up it becomes a performance because what I wear combined with a certain attitude can capture people’s attention. It is not really an act if you think of a classic performance act with a beginning, middle, and end. Although I have also done that a few times, especially during the NY Pride Parade, where I used to close the Brazilian contingency presentation; I did it for 12 years. Everything is very theatrical of course. Last year, during MoMA PSI Halloween Ball, my costume "Donald Trump Grabbing His Own Pussy" was such a big sensation, it was considered one of the best costumes of the night by W Magazine. But, it is not a career, it is just how I express myself in the world. Perhaps I can say that if I get some attention it is because the direct message means something to those paying attention.
Carpazine:What are the main influences of your work?
Gazelle:It varies because of the constant changes in the world; but I find myself most attracted to glimpses of our day lives: beauty, misery, mystery, luxury, fashion, style... I guess everything!
Carpazine:What would call your style?
Gazelle:Daring, scary, sexy… but never vulgar.
Carpazine:How much time do you spend working on a performance?
Gazelle:As much as it is necessary to be polished and go beyond my standards.
Carpazine:What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?
Gazelle:I think that might have been being invited by Julie Atlas Muz, in 2007, to be the MC on her Halloween show in Braga (Portugal). That was very important to me on a personal level, because for one night I became part of this incredible group of performance artists who were all very established and known in the New York scene. I had to get up on the stage of that luxurious opera house and entertain the audience between numbers and introduce the performers; they were so in-sync and I had to hold my own. It was a liberating experience, I had never been on a stage before that night. When, I sometimes watch the videos (Gazelle Compilation - Day of The Dead in Braga) on YouTube, I keep thinking how surreal that was. The documentary Gazelle, The Love Issue by director Cesar Terranova was also an important moment of my artistic life because it spread a message of someone who really understand who he is, what he wants and where he is going.
Carpazine:What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?
Gazelle:The message. Because only then when it is perfectly decided I can work on which tools to use.
Carpazine:How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?
Gazelle:It is very important to understand the scale that you are involved with so that everything you will be working with will become more real.
Carpazine:Tell us how the Gazelland Magazine got his start.
Gazelle:I was working at the door of Crobar and during the Disgraceland party I noticed that a photographer kinda snubbed a freakchic (club kid) because I guess he was looking for muscle boys. So, I decided to take photos of that scene and post online every night. The print version was an upgrade from the online idea and initially it was supposed to be ten themes. I have produced eight magazines, so who knows when the last two Gazelland themes will be finalizes...only the future can tell!
Carpazine:What is the main focus and purpose of the magazine content?
Gazelle:It was focused on the nightlife crowd that really dressed up and brought some magic to any event. The purpose, besides being visually informative, was to document that period that I was part of.
Carpazine:What work do you most enjoying doing?
Gazelle:Anything that is art related and inspiring at same time.
Carpazine:What your most embarrassing moment?
Gazelle:Sorry, I can't share that!!! It was so embarrassing!
Carpazine:What jobs have you done others than being an artist?
Gazelle:I worked in retail when I lived in Dallas. And my current profession, just like in the past twenty years, is the one who takes me flying all over the world: I am a flight attendant.
Carpazine:What do you dislike about the art world?
Gazelle:A few weeks ago, I was in the middle of a brain storming process for a upcoming project I am involved with and it was discussed that the great idea we were planning to bring to life could potentially upset "some" people. So, to be more precise, this is what I hate about it: that some people are afraid of doing something awesome because of what others would say or think. There is a certain lack of bravery, not from everybody of course, that is quite annoying. I don't ever recall not doing something artistically that I really wanted to do because of outside influences.
Carpazine:What makes you angry?
Gazelle:That we live in a world with so much wealthy and yet in some parts of it, people still die of hunger. Also, extreme religious beliefs are upsetting. I don't understand why some people think that their religion is better than others and therefore everybody should live and love under their rules.
Carpazine:Is there a town or place in the world you consider inspiring?
Gazelle:Moorea in Tahiti is simply magic.
Carpazine:What inspires you (in general)?
Gazelle:True love and real changes.
Carpazine:Did you ever feel like giving up?
Gazelle:No, but sometimes I feel like going to sleep and only waking up in fifty years when the whole world, hopefully, be a better place.
Carpazine:What role does the artist have in society?
Gazelle:I can't speak for others; but my role is to inspire and encourage fantasies.
Carpazine:What's your relationship like with artist Scooter LaForge?
Gazelle:On a personal level, Scooter has become one of my best friends. On an artistic level, he is as fearless and as insane as I like to be. And, that's refreshing for me.
Carpazine:Can you tell us about Gazelle, The Love Issue?
Gazelle:It was an amazing project that came into my life, and as everything I agree to do, I gave it my all, from start, during, to finish. It took five years of my life and sincerely I hope it can inspire or help people to have a better understanding of their own journey.
Carpazine:How was to work with director Cesar Terranova?
Gazelle:Cesar falls in that category of bold people; if I say I am going to jump from a bridge wearing a massive gown and he needs to get all of that dress in the shot, he will not question why, he will just do it...and that's an amazing person to work with, because he gets you.
Carpazine:How many awards Gazelle, The Love Issue won?
Gazelle:I have no idea, but maybe over 20 awards. Cesar knows it for sure.
Carpazine:Can you tell the readers where to find you so they can check you out?
Gazelle:Lately, I am spending more time on Instagram, because I find it so dynamic. So, you can always find me there or anywhere on social media under GAZELLE PAULO. My personal blog is FreakChic.com, but, because of Instagram I haven't uploaded anything new there for quite some time. You can also check GazelleTheLoveIssue.com
Carpazine:Anything you’d like to add?
Gazelle:Do it now....and if you love it, do it a lot!
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