gallery Video interview with artist Bruna Massadas: Speaking on memory, being an English language learner, painting, and media.

In telling her story of immigration from Brazil to the United States at the age of 15, Massadas recreates an adolescent world overwhelmed by Americanized fantasies: the kind ruled by blond-haired, blue-eyed beauties; the kind filled with laugh tracks and dramatic close-ups and the inevitable happy ending. But she also depicts the actual America she soon encountered: high school halls crowded with immigrants and teenage hormones; nights plagued by typical worries over fashion and boyfriends, but complicated with anxieties over language and cultural assimilation.

Not Like in the Movies is a multimedia project that strives for the cinematic: painting merged with storytelling, vivid imagery paired with the vocal performance. But unlike a movie, sound and image are not in perfect sync. The paintings, verging on a graphic memoir, only hint at a story experienced more fully through headphones; yet as Massadas vividly describes a world dominated by visuals and often confused by language, the listener encounters image after image that wasn’t painted, key moments that didn’t end up hanging on the wall. In this way, Not Like in the Movies is a movie in fragments — a Brazilian girl’s hoped-for Hollywood ending that’s been disassembled and closely examined, but only partially put back together again.

Kyler Ernst, via Nook Gallery


Bruna Massadas is a Brazilian-American artist who received a dual B.A. & B.F.A. from California State University, Fullerton and an M.F.A. from California College of the Arts. Her recent solo exhibition was “The Face Painter” at Guerrero Gallery in San Francisco, and her work has been included in exhibitions at The Dot Project in London, BBQLA’s traveling exhibition American Fine Arts, and 0-0 L.A. in Los Angeles. She is currently working on “Novela,” a narrative animation project, in Bozeman, Montana.

Nook Gallery was founded by Shushan Tesfizigta and Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo, with the hopes of carving out an inclusive and accessible space to support and give room for emerging artists of color, women and queer artists, to exhibit and present work. The seating nook transformed into a gallery in our kitchen, gives the artist(s) a clear and unique space to work with, and present work within. Thinking about the importance of gathering around a table, what does it mean to come together for a meal or to cook together, for art, for critical discussion, for storytelling? Bringing the community together is what we strive to do as artists, culture makers, curators, writers and performers in the world. The Nook Gallery offers a possibility for supporting and nurturing this gathering, telling and being together. Lukaza Branfman-Verissimo is the lead curator and director of programming.


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