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Coração o ditador (PT)

Helena creates collages with 19th and 20th century originals always in search of poetry! !

Helena's story begins at the home of her father's grandmother and godmother in Beja. Get to know her workshop and process in this exclusive interview!

Helena lived in an immense house, an old family college, which had countless furniture scattered throughout the house filled with newspapers, magazines and old books.

Every day Helena would leave school and go to her grandmother's house - her favorite hobby was to mess around in drawers! The ground floor was all closed, and it was where Helena spent hours alone browsing and analyzing the pages that attracted her most. She loved the company of these relics and this is how she developed her own aesthetic!

Helena Rocio Janeiro

Helena was born in the Algarve, grew up in the Alentejo and came to Porto to study Fine Arts . At the age of 24 she moved to the south of France, where she stayed for many years and where she continues to go very often: France is her greatest influence because she has a deep love for the country and its culture!


It was in May 2012 that she found her favorite form of artistic expression - collages!

"It was a click, this is what I want to do, I feel comfortable in this form of expression!

I feel lightness and the work is very natural.

You take what exists and transform it, you play with everything you find. With the collages you can play with the collective unconscious, with the symbols and with the archetypes, it is an area that I really like to explore.

I work with pleasure and I am very happy with the Coração o Ditador! "says Helena

The project "Coração o Ditador" is completely different from what she was doing until then: Helena juxtaposes images and typographies from different times and chromatic means, seeking empathy and passing on her message - she uses the word a lot, playing with subversions and expressions. Humor is her weapon to make the observer reflect and also to dedramatize!

"I would like to convey poetry with my work, the poetry that exists in life.

Of course, I also look for empathy. We all have the same fears and anxieties. We get closer through our fears and sensibilities. "

She began making a collage a day until the end of 2012. She started selling them in Mercado Portobelo and later on to selected Porto stores. The next step was the street!

If you live in Porto or are around you should already have seen her famous collages with word plays:

Coracao o ditador

coracao o ditador


On a day trip to the second-hand fair in Oporto (Vandoma) in search of material for her stamp collection Helena discovered a stamp Coração o Ditador she loved (meaning "Heart the dictator" in portuguese) ! She began using this stamp for the poster of her first exhibition on CRU COWORK - the most emotional - and to stamp each piece. It has since then become her "mark".

A while later, her friends discovered a little red covered novel with the name in capital letters CORAÇÃO O DITADOR. The origin of the stamp was discovered! Helena did not imagine there was a book by that name. 

"I read the book, it's completely dramatic.The author is sadly already dead, it's a book from the 40s- 50. I would have liked to talk to her and explain that I did not steal her name, it was a coincidence and I would offer her a beautiful collage! I do not think she'd mind. "

 coracao o ditador

Helena already had a collection of old magazines before starting the project.

Her biggest source of collages are magazines and old books (eg LIFE magazine or L'Illustration magazine) that she buys in street markets, gets from friends, acquaintances or even construction works she visits on the street and where she asks if they do not have magazines for her - there are very good surprises! Nowadays she has friends in the construction work world who call her to tell what material they just found out!

Helena never works with photocopies or prints, always with originals. Helena prefers to work with 1920s and 1950s illustrations but she also uses photography from the 1940s.

A collection of gold from the 19th and 20th centuries!!

coracao o ditador

Coracao o ditador

"I listen to a lot of music, conferences or documentaries when I work and I try to make the most of it. I can concentrate on both activities at the same time and I discovered that there is always a part of me working in the background.

It has happened to me to create sentences through collages that I only notice that make sense in the context of collage a day or two later. It's an amazing process! I let it flow. "

Her favorite support is paper but she has already applied her collages on book covers or even deconstructing books and making collages inside, on ceramic plates, wooden or cardboard structures for large 3D pieces and made decorations of bars with custom pieces !

"What I love most about my work are the moments in which the observer discovers the small details hidden in my hidden pieces and messages. A relationship of closeness that fascinates me is established!"

Her inspiration often crosses philosophy and poetry: "Man is absurd for what he seeks, great for what he finds" Paul Valéry.

Her studio is an oasis of personality and collages, it perspires creativity and all its walls are used in the creative process!

Helen's mind is always buzzing, and when she's creating a new play, she knows exactly which cut she wants to use and where it's stored. There is order in this apparent chaos!

coracao o ditador

coracao o ditador

coracao o ditador

coracao o ditador

Each cut piece is organized religiously by categories, each in its small drawer in delightful and secretive counters.

coracao o ditador


coracao o ditador

coracao o ditador

Helena's work has a very coherent poetry.


Helena has already launched different series in this project and is always open to new collaborations that let her juices flow. For a Luz Natural Helena chose a set of prints from the series "From A to Z" and the series "A verse to the universe" and also postcards to decorate your home or send by mail!

And you, will you want to support this true creative to continue to launch her games for us?


All photos are copyright of Joana Bento.