Rafael Calazans (aka Highraff) was born in São Paulo on November 15th, 1977. Highraff ‘s first exposure to painting was graffiti. Using organic forms rendered with a very hallucinatory quality, Highraff builds his forms with a high degree of precision, although there is also a certain element of improvisation in his work. On canvases, his forms will appear deeply-rooted, conveying a great sense of movement of shapes, growing upwards like a tree. Building forms in this way led to his incorporation of sculpture to enhance the illusion.
Using MDF material, Highraff has developed a cutting-and-fitting system to create a three-dimensional component, turning his once flat murals into sculpted sceneries of elaborate depth. The result is fantastic imagery in vibrant psychedelic colors and complex layers, heightening the experience of the urban landscape. Highraff’s colors and shapes are derived from various sources of inspiration, although he has a special fondness for comics and animation. Other influences include Moebius, Gaudi, Mucha, and Escher. Highraff describes his work best when he says, “imagine all of these artistic styles together in a psychedelic rave party.”
Highraff graduated from university in 2001 and immediately began showing his work in galleries and museums. He has also traveled to Europe, where he painted in the streets of Paris and Barcelona.