We picked the brains of the unapologetic Rita Gomes and heard about her journey to becoming Wastedrita.
Photo: Joana Linda
Her work can be described as extremely real, uncensored and unapologetic, just as one could describe the artist herself. Rita Gomes, going by the artist name of Wastedrita, has been recognised as a noteworthy creative in many ways. With an ironic approach to language and almost naive painterly approach, she was one of the chosen artists for Dismaland, a temporary art project created by Banksy in 2015, and was invited to exhibit her work in Bangkok earlier this year. On top of that, she organised her own art show in Lisbon at Underdogs gallery called ‘As Happy As Sad Can Be’. As a result, Rita has firmly placed her foot in the art industry. Her current exhibition, just as her main body of work, embodies a life-based narrative; but this time, her work particularly teaches the viewer to still have fun while embracing your sadness.
Luckily for us, she managed to create a small space in her crazy schedule to have a quick conversation on how and why her work is the way it is now. GIRLS ARE AWESOME: Hi, Rita. It all started with a blog, right? What sparked the idea of starting one and what was its purpose?
Rita Gomes (Wastedrita): In my early university days, my teachers incited all the students to make a blog to upload work onto. The purpose was to end up with an online portfolio, and in my last years at school I started using it for more personal projects and statements and drawings about how I hated how I felt in university.
The only purpose was to have an online archive of everything I was creating.
How did you come up with your artist name and does it imply anything?
It comes from two completely different things. First, I knew I wanted to create things and in order to do so, I knew I had to stop fearing everything and be ok with mistakes and failure. But I was an insecure bummer (I still am) drowned in fear for so many years, so the name comes with the realisation that I was wasting my life. Second, I’ve been a fan of Black Flag for a long time, so when the name ‘’Wasted Rita’’ popped in my head it felt like a moment of sacred revelation.
You’ve just opened another show in Lisbon, congratulations! What sparked the concept for “As happy as sad can be” and what are you specifically addressing in your new body of work?
The concept of the show comes from waking up with a nearly non-existent will to live. I’m addressing the strategies and things I adopt and explore to cope and transform this slow and painful but rewarding process of waking up with a nearly non-existent will in endurance. It’s also about openness in acknowledging the importance and magnificence of this daily process.
Therefore, some go-to themes I approached in the show are internet ego, feminism, angry girls allowing themselves to express angriness, the pressure to be happy versus the idea that you can be ok and that’s just fine as well, being negative and not seeing that as a bad thing considering the state of the world, people that accept you as you are and (animal-free) food obsession.
Your work takes a self deprecating and ironic approach to things we all go through in life. What’s the process behind your ideas? Do you have any muses helping you with your work?
The ideas just come. The world is bad; I’m always thinking about it, hence reacting to it. It’s true, I do like to keep some witches close to my heart and sight so I can keep my resilience levels right: Issa Rae, Carly Rae Jepsen, Chastity Belt, Gretchen Cutler (everything about You’re The Worst is inspiring as fuck), Ilana Glazer, Abbi Jacobson, Mindy Kaling, Cameron Esposito, Aziz Ansari, Phoebe Robinson, Jessica Williams, Apart Nancherla, Kathleen Hanna, Lena Dunham, Rihanna, Princess Nokia, Paloma Elsesser, SZA, Billy Eichner, Rachel Bloom and so many other angry, unsatisfied beings who aren’t afraid to fight the patriarchy.
By following you on Instagram we’ve come to notice the hashtag #wastedritaonskin relatively often. How do you feel about people immortalising your work on their bodies?
It is both overwhelming and a huge pressure to apprehend that my work is that important to others. It’s also overwhelming trying to avoid getting stuck in those horrifying feelings of failing people who like what I do. I don’t let myself think about it much.
Do you feel like your work directly reflects your personality, or it’s more of a persona?
My work reflects all my personas, and all my personas are part of my personality.
You are quite multidisciplinary in your approach. What do you think is the ‘red thread’ between all your work, no matter which medium it takes or topic it deals with?
The angry, vulnerable, unsatisfied, resilient, flawed as hell me.
What’s the next creative goal you want to meet?
Going to Mexico for a while and spending a few months in New York next year. It’s not “the next creative goal” per se, but it’s “the next background scenario creative goal” and I would never reveal what my next creative goal is (cause I’m superstitious and it revealing it would ruin everything.)
Her show can be viewed at the Underdogs gallery in Lisbon, until 18th of November.