Queer in Design — Pedro Marques

2 years ago by

In this series, we celebrate our LGBTQ+ designers as they share their career pathways, explore how being queer informs their work, and discuss how we achieve better representation and inclusivity in Aotearoa design industry. Today we meet Pedro Marques, graphic designer (& resident letterer) at pan.co.nz

Can you tell us about your creative journey so far?

I started studying Advertising at the Federal University of Ceara, Brazil and I interned in different local advertising agencies. During my graduation, I went to live in Santiago de Compostela, Spain, under a scholarship programme, where I had the opportunity to learn about cinema and art. After that, I moved back to Brazil to finish my university. Then I had the opportunity to go back to Spain, but now to Barcelona, where I spent a few months working at TiempoBBDO which gave me some solid base in advertising and this is when the passion for calligraphy and typography started.

Once back to Brazil in 2011, I was more and more into the graphic design world and then I decided to open calligraphy workshops and spread my passion for letters to my students. After a few years, in 2015, my boyfriend and I decided to leave Brazil and go on a half sabbatical trip half digital freelancer nomad life in Africa and Southeast Asia.

And then in 2016 I had the opportunity to come to New Zealand for a year of work and travel, which basically changed my life. I fell in love with the kiwi lifestyle, the beautiful nature and the lovely and friendly people. So, here I am. Currently living in Hamilton and still in love with New Zealand.

What were your first years in the industry like, and when did you begin to feel confident in your work?

It was pretty hard. My first professional experience was in 2006, as an intern in a local advertising agency in my hometown, Fortaleza. At that time the atmosphere of an advertising agency was kinda tough, with a bunch of bullying on one hand and heaps of work and impossible deadlines to meet on the other. I don’t regret it – actually it was important for me as a professional to deal with all the careers’ challenges – but definitely I don’t miss these times.

And I had a second “first year” when I moved to New Zealand. I have to say: starting a creative career in Hamilton is not an easy thing at all. So, after almost 2 years working in the hospitality industry while applying for jobs, I finally found one and had the opportunity to show my skills in New Zealand’s creative industry.

What project, personal or professional, are you most proud of and why?

I love a campaign that I made to a local newspaper in my hometown against all these “small-and-daily-prejudices” that we all do. Prejudice against poor people, against the LGBTQ+ community, against women and other minorities.

And I’m proud of my journey in the world of letters. I love to experiment with different tools, inks and paper… sometimes the results are great! In 2020 I’m aiming to go further, experimenting with letters and new technologies.

How (if at all) does being LGBTQ+ inform your work?

I have my personal references in art, design and everything else. Being gay is just one part of me and I can’t specify where exactly being gay affected my life and aesthetic preferences.

Did you have any trouble with coming out to your studio?

It wasn’t even a thing. I reckon on my job interview I just said that I moved to New Zealand with my boyfriend and that’s it. Not either invasive questions or too polite or special treatment.

Do you have any advice for queer designers starting out in the industry?

I don’t think there’s a piece of specialist advice that I could give specifically to designers. But I could offer advice for LGBTQ+ in general: never be ashamed of who you are, even in the hardest moments. At least for me, when I tried to hide myself was a terrible and inefficient experience.

What’s favorite piece of queer visual culture?

That’s a hard question! “Like a Prayer” from Madonna is memorable and speaks a lot to me with all the religious references because I grew up in a very catholic family, which makes it harder to deal with my sexuality. I’m a Madonna fan for all her support for the LBGTQ+ community even when we didn’t know that we should stand for our rights.

What other queer people inspire you?

Pedro Almodóvar and all his amazing movies which often talk with me in such intense way; Pabllo Vittar and everything that she represents as being a drag singer in Brazil of Bolsonaro era, the Top 1 country when we talk about the murder of homosexual and transgender people;

And probably all the black-poor-and-flamboyant gays in the favelas (slum area). These are the most vulnerable group within the queer community – at least in Brazil – and have to fight every day against the homophobia and violence that I, as a middle-class gay, don’t have to face.

Can you tell us a little about your Blutui Rainbow Tee?

It’s a small gesture to show that Blutui is an inclusive company and that diversity in the workplace is welcome.

What do you love most about the Blutui/Pan Agency Studio Culture?

The freedom that I have here – usually I feel free to say even the dumbest idea – and the recognition when I do a good job. These two factors made me feel more confident about my work and to don’t stop on the first idea.


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