Founder of Lenita, Florist, Art Director & Graphic Designer
Downtown Arts District Los Angeles
30 years of Nemuel
Turning 30 has been extremely weird! I didn’t think that flipping this page would have an impact on the way I think about the future or live the present – but it has in all ways possible. However the best part has been looking back and realizing that all the things I do today tracks to what I loved doing growing up; it’s been there all along.
Whenever my family members would come to visit I would make posters and post them throughout the house with wishes of welcome and words of love; there was my start in graphic design. At school or church parties I would jump on decorating and determining the look and feel when it came time to transform the space; there was my start in art directing. Flowers and plants have always surrounded me. My mother would adorn the girl’s hair with flowers in preparation for the church’s early saint crowning ceremony. Our home was filled with ferns and plants of all kinds outgrowing their planters and draping to the ground. When a close friend would get married I would somehow end up with flower duties and live for every moment of it; there was my start in floral.
Returning to Brazil with my twin brother and family was beyond a celebration of our birthdays; it was a family reunion filled with friends, food and a genuine reminder of where it all began. Getting to explore the metropolitan cities of São Paulo and Rio De Janeiro gave me an insight of how diverse Brazil is as a culture and I could for the first time experience as an adult every social class within the country.
The heart of it all came together in our humble hometown of Alvarenga, a municipality in the state of Minas Gerais with an estimated population of 4,000. There I was able to see familiar faces from childhood, connect with family members that I haven’t seen in ages, visit the school I once attended and walk the streets and enter the house that for a period of 10 years I called home.
This home however has changed. The streets, buildings and people, although familiar, have evolved, grown or disappeared throughout the years. And just like the idea behind the dried flower series made for Disposable Magazine; the concept that flowers are also disposable – so are all things in life. And what we are left with are memories of places, faces and objects that for a period, weather years or just a few weeks are now developed and living only in our memories.
Where are you from, and what brought you to Los Angeles?
I’m from a tiny town called Alvarenga, in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil and lived several years on the South Shore of Boston. Coming to LA wasn’t really planned; I was working in retail back in Massachusetts and feeling very much stuck, not only design wise but in several angles of my life – so I gave my two weeks notice, got in my car and drove cross country with my friend Phil. My brother was already living here so I figured the transition would be smoother and worth a try.
How did your passion for flowers start?
I’ve had a passion for flowers from a tiny age. As a child I would pick them in the fields for my mother and have always been fascinated by the amount of color and details the tiniest flower can carry.
It’s timeless and powerful! The truck is named after my mother Lenita, therefore I wanted a ‘female’ color that could go beyond that reference and represent flowers, art, and design as well.
What future do you ideally see for LENITA?
Ideally LENITA will have a physical location and a brand that is an extension of the truck and everything design. One of my favorite components of LENITA is having the featured artists come on and share their work with the world as well – I hope to create collaborations that support and embrace one another and make this community we’re building stronger and broader.
We meet again in 20 years, where are you and what do you do?
Celebrating my 50th for a month documenting it for Disposable Magazine! I’d be doing something with design and enjoying the outcome from all the hard work I put into my projects from 20 years ago.
How was your experience shooting for Disposable?
It was very nostalgic. It brought me back to when I moved to the United States at the age of ten and discovered disposable cameras. I would take them on field trips and would only see the outcome days or weeks later. This feeling of not knowing how they turned out or the ability to manipulate the photograph is very liberating.
Do you collect?
Not really. I’ve been gifted several salt + pepper shakers and get stickers from all places I go (for myself and to gift my brother) so maybe
Tea or coffee?
What is the strangest thing you believed as a child?
Right now I’m obsessed with green
Right now I’m obessed with Rio De Janeiro
What are your plans for this weekend?
Flores at LENITA BY GRITA (Danielle Yukakri is the featured artist) and getting a suit for a friends wedding happening in Cape Cod, MA
‘Todo Homen’ by Caetano Veloso, Moreno Veloso, Zeca Veloso
Right or left handed?
What is the best dish you can cook?
I love to cook! Recently its chicken stroganoff
Your idea of happiness?
Smirking – to me it’s the tiniest moment of happiness
Your idea of misery?
If the were no colors
If not yourself, who would you be?
Lenita, Leticia and Kemuel
What is your present state of mind?
Grateful, hopeful and confused
Bedside table books?
Call Me By Your Name By André Aciman (In Portuguese)
What do you do if you can’t sleep at night?
Play rain sounds or watch cake decorating videos
What is your middle name?
What do you do in your free time?
What inspires you?
What do you do for money?
I work daily in several creative projects – money still to come