Brazilian artist and high-schooler Flávia Brioschi aka Flavushh is making grumpy girls more visible with her unapologetic sketches of characters giving side-eye glances from underneath their blunt bangs. Flávia is fluent in the imaginary—her portraits incorporate strange, otherworldly plant life and organic matter that floats incongruously in her created worlds. We spoke about zines, evoking uncomfortableness, and twirling around the internet.
MINNA GILLIGAN: Hi, Flávia! Let’s start with the basics. How old are you, and where are you currently based?
FLÁVIA BRIOSCHI: Hi! I’m 15 years old and am based in São Paulo, Brazil.
When did you begin making art? Was there a particular moment that sparked your creative urges, or perhaps you come from a creative family?
When I was a kid, I was always drawing something, and I never stopped! There wasn’t a specific moment; it was just something that was in my mind. And yes! My family is very supportive of my art-making.
Can you tell me about your online identity, Flavushh? What does it mean?
I came up with Flavushh out of my name, Flávia, plus “vushh,” which to me was the sound of someone twirling?! I made it a long time ago, and I thought it was stupid. Now it fits me, and I really like it.
You seem so fluent with all the materials you use: ink, markers, pencil, pen, et cetera. What are your preferred materials when making your work?
The materials really influence what I’m going to draw, and I enjoy experimenting with a large variety of them, so I don’t really have favorites. Right now I’m into drawing with pencil and ink.
Your portraits have an eccentric and unpredictable nature about them. Plant-life grows from ears or on faces. Light emanates from foreheads. Small, cartoon-esque characters accompany your portraits on shoulders, egging people on. What are you exploring with this imagery?
I was never really interested in or good at drawing things too rooted in reality; I drew people from my imagination and infused my drawings with elements of fantasy. The little characters have always been something I’ve drawn, but only recently I started merging them more with my work. They give a vibe of different emotions or thoughts floating around, saying things to the people in my work and evoking uncomfortableness. Though I don’t really think about these subjects while drawing—it just sort of happens.
Where do you make your work? Do you have a preferred space to be creative in? Can you describe it for me?
I enjoying working alone in my room, at a big table I have that is pretty messy with drawings and random papers scattered around. And I usually work in afternoons, next to the window so I get some sun.
Do you know the people you draw, or are they invented characters?
The people I draw are made up in the moment! I draw the facial features as I go. It’s a pretty organic process.
I love that your characters are unapologetic and staunch in their existence. A lot of them seem to be saddened, or thinking about something, or maybe even a little grumpy. Do you agree? And, if so, why do they feel this way?
Yeah, I agree. There’s so much in life that I’m angry or upset about and people tend to not really listen or take into consideration what young girls think. Plus, we are taught that looking angry or upset is not something we should be doing. I try to externalize that through my art and portray girls who are not worried about how they will be perceived and look 100 percent exactly how they feel.
I saw that you had been making some zines recently. Can you describe what the zines are about, and what you like about the medium?
I’ve only printed one zine so far, and it’s called Frutinha [“tiny fruit”]. It’s a comic about growing up and being a girl and not being sure about stuff, and also plants. I enjoy zines because they’re an easy and homemade way to put your work out there in a physical form. I also like the zine fairs where there are so many cool artists to talk to and trade stuff with!
Have you ever exhibited your work, or do you intend to do so in the future?
I’ve never really exhibited anywhere but I would love to someday!
In some ways, putting your work on social media is like exhibiting it. What do you like about uploading and displaying your drawings on Facebook and Instagram?
I want my stuff to be seen! The internet is the easiest way to do that, and it reaches the biggest and most diverse public. Posting your work online is a great way to become more visible to the world, and to connect with other people who make art. It can lead to cool things—like this interview!—so don’t be afraid to put your work out there!
Who or what are you most inspired or influenced by?
I don’t have specific artists who inspire me in a big way. There are so many, and it’s something that always changes! I’m influenced by small things that I observe around me, conversations I have or overhear. Mainly, it’s something I don’t even realize until I sit down and draw.
What are your aims for your art practice and yourself in the future?
I want to get better and better! I’m always growing and changing. Part of being an artist is never really being 100 percent satisfied with your own work and feeling like there is always room for improvement. On a personal level, I would like to finish high school, go to college (bleh!), and continue to draw and make comics and live on that someday!
What are three words that describe your artwork?
Doubt, mess, everything. ♦