Rafael Peixoto Ferreira is not your regular run of the mill college professor. Having worked previously in his home country of Brazil, Rafael brought to Canada his multitude of ad world experience to influence the budding creatives entering the workforce in present day. Here is a little insight into Mohawk college professor Mr. Ferreira, sharing his thoughts and recent work within the photography, design and typography world.
I myself always found creatives fascinating for the simple fact they are continually inspired and driven by their own passionate pursuits to create original works of art.
Reminds me very much of the creative people I met throughout life, both friends and teachers and how their passion resonated with me to inspire continued personal creative growth.
ML - At what time did you realize that being in the creative field was going to be your profession?
RPF - Since my childhood, I was the one who was always drawing, seeing ads, loved board games, video games etc. I was also obsessed with collecting different things, such as stamps, cans of beer, and comics. Let’s just say I was a pretty nerdy kid.
ML - What drives your experimental design?
RPF - I think if you don’t experiment the possibilities of media you are losing all the fun. I cannot try to break paradigms and dogmas in what you are working with, you are probably just going with the flow, never let your passion become your business. Vernacular imaging is my main inspiration, based on my art direction/typography and background in photography.
ML - When you are not feeling inspired what helps you become engaged to create?
RFP - I normally research projects that may be very difficult to do, sometimes on the technical side, and others on the aesthetic side. In life once you have learned alot of different things, you eventually realize that there is also alot you really don’t know or can’t figure out right away. That is when the real studying, researching and inspiration begins to kick in. You can then develop your own ideas. The last method I tried was the Brenizer Method.
ML - What creative field do you have the most passion for and why?
RFP - Well I can say typography, photography and graphic design are definitely my main passions. All of them compliment each other, and if I knew that photography was so important for my design work I would have started it much sooner in life.
ML - I understand you recently became interested in medium format photography, what do you love most about it?
RFP - It began as one of those quests to try something new; I got a Yashica A Twin lens camera at an antique fair, the photos I get from that fifty year old camera just blow me away! So a few months later, I was hooked. Three medium format cameras later, (Hasselblad 500c, Mamiya 645 super and Yashica 124g) I’m using them all the time. They are definitely beautiful learning tools, and the rendition of their pics cannot be reproduced by digital. After I got into film photography, I really began to research and read about the great photographers like Ansel Adams, Belkowitz, Man Ray, Cunningham, Talbot, Muybridge, Evans and Diane Arbus. Of course my wife Tatiana wants to kill me with every new antique camera that appears in my collection but really she’s a great supporter, and that’s important.
ML - What is the greatest aspect about being a professor at Mohawk College currently?
RFP - It’s like having a hundred new teenager sons and daughters every year, it’s an enormous responsibility in being part of the life of a young student at the start of their adult life, and I try to instill some of the best lessons I learned in life in my teachings. While teaching I also learn with them. Seeing them succeed in their professional life is an emotion greater than winning any award. Mohawk is a great College and we have photography courses and classes in our Advertising Program.
ML - Describe how your past experience is a great asset to your present day teaching.
RFP - Well, I never thought I would be a teacher, I always worked as a Art/Creative Director in Ad Agencies. I started teaching in Brazil when a friend asked me to teach a High School class in a course that specialized in Advertising, I really liked the experience, after that I taught for 6 years as a part-time instructor at two different Universities in my hometown of Campinas, Brazil (PUCC and UNIP). When the opportunity to teach in Canada presented itself to me, my past working experience really paved the way for me getting into this current position.
ML - Can you explain in a few words what has made your creative interests expand over the years?
RFP - Try to be obsessed about everything that you love. Don’t be superficial, go deep into your passion, make that part of your idiosyncrasy, that helps alot.
ML - Who do you look up to or admire?
Besides my family, wife and few selected friends, there are so many people who inspired me in my career that I can make a huge list here. But I will tell you two people - Mike Salisbury and P. Scott Makela.
ML - If you could give one piece of creative advice, what would it be?
RFP - Try to be hungry for knowledge and challenge yourself everyday. Remember that those who are not afraid to make alot of mistakes trying to learn, are people who really make it in the end.
No pain, no gain.
ML - Where can we find your work – or learn more about you?
Mr. Ferreira currently is a professor at Mohawk College in course areas of: Typography, Art Direction Creative, Layout, Web Concepts, Portfolio Workshop, and Pre-press.
Looking forward to learning, being inspired, motivated by Mr. Ferriera’s teachings and continued growth within the creative world. What new experimental design or photography projects will he come up with next? Better yet what new minds will also be inspired for generations to come? The world definitely needs more creative idiosyncrasies!
Written and Interviewed by Maria Lalla
Photography and Design work by Rafael Peixoto Ferreira