Born in Patos, Paraíba (Brazil) in 1977, Francisco José de Souto Leite moved to Joao Pessoa, Brasília with his family at 18. By that time he was already producing drawings for
tattoos and t-shirts, as well as the Marginal Zine which
provided an outlet his comics. Through the ‘zine Shiko developed a network of artists in video, music and
production; he soon began to design flyers for concerts ranging from hardcore to hip-hop along with CD
covers for various underground bands. As his popularity grew he soon moved into working on canvas and took the persona of Shiko.
“It’s something that says nothing about what you do. I mean you can put a
few nails in a bar of soap or something. And what would my life be like as an
artist? (To) produce a material that would be exposed on sale? That’s what I
do least, the focus was never what I wanted to do.”
“Shiko is so intense. The classic outsider artist, who loves themes like
bohemian, night, alcohol, pornography, music, cinema… His story of
survival and what makes it is almost a utopia for artists like him, because
the guy can sustain himself only on art, having never worked with anything
else in his life. He has his paintings scattered throughout the city and is
known and respected because his gig can develop in various media. No wonder
he is already a living legend in the city since arriving in João Pessoa,
ten years ago.”
–Carolina Morena Vilar
Recently Shiko has joined a team of artists chosen to bring new vision of the characters from Maurício de Sousa: he is releasing a graphic novel starring Piteco, the hero of Prehistory, present in comics of Monica’s Gang. “They thought my style matched the Piteco. So, I sent a draft of the screenplay, and was approved. I am very excited and I spent the entire first half (of 2012) dedicating myself to this project.”
In 2012 Shiko also participated in a collection of Brazilian literature classics, adapted to comics by the publisher Attica. He was responsible for The Fifteen by Rachel de Queiroz:. a story dealing with the death and misery brought on by drought in the 1915 back-lands of Ceará. Although born in the interior of Paraíba, his work has been strongly influenced by the urban environment and he conducted intensive research to draw the comic.
Besides Pitheco he is also working on compilations of Mark Fantasia. He will be opening tan exhibition this year in the House Black Dog, a historic site of Olinda. The location has become known in recent months as a center of the arts and independent music scene in the city. Among the exhibited works are paintings from the last two years: a panorama, he explains: “It is not a straight line. It has a theme.”
Shiko’s work, both in comics and in the screens is permeated by a strong urban presence. “Everything ends up inspiring me. People waiting train, pop culture, street artists, tattoo. ” He is also known by the appearance of robots and androids like Idoru, a female droid present in some screens.
Shiko currently lives and works in in Florence, Italy, and says the experience abroad has stirred his artistic perception: “The time I’m living there is serving to (help me) see my work differently. I’m interested to know what the public of other countries thinks. I’ve been influenced by the city, and it urges me to try new ideas.” He took up residence in Italy to accompany his wife, who is studying for her masters. The plan from the beginning is to return to live in João Pessoa, capital of his native State; nonetheless, Europe has been profitable for his career. Shiko has recently had small shows in Lyon and the Paris Book Fair.
Shiko presents his portfolio online as derbyblue at flickr.