Hélio Teles was born in central Brazil in 1967. He attended University in Goias state, where he studied philosophy and theology.
On leaving University he became a teacher and, during this period, was aware of the chronic and systemic nature of poverty in Brazil which led him to become, at the age of 20, the youngest ever directly elected council member in Brazil, representing the town of Itapirapua
He was influenced strongly by the conditions in which the people lived and the images of doors and walls of ordinary houses and simple architecture became, for him, a symbolic memory of simple lives lived in extreme hardship, yet with a faith in the future that belied their circumstance.
His first artistic inspirations came from Brazilian artists such as Portinari and the work of photographer Sebastiao Salgado. The work of Antoni Tapies and Alberto Burri has been influential, primarily due to their use of mixed media. The thematic treatment of the wall in the ‘graffiti’ series by photographer Brassai, has reinforced the emotional context of the wall in social and cultural terms.
“……….in my most recent work I have increased the use of colour to reflect a hope for peace and security in these troubled times. I try to see my work as a metaphor for poverty and division.
The use of mixed media is an attempt to recreate the dwellings, crumbling facades of houses and peeling walls. Layers of impasto imply the world outside, thinly applied paint a reflection of the world inside. Lines, scratches, crosses and graffiti are expressions of feeling - of the faith that is the core of our existence.”
Helio moved to England in 1995 to study Art and English and has an MA degree in Fine Art at the City and Guilds of London Art School. He works from his studio on the South Coast.