He doesn’t shy away from telling his story. He was unemployed, with no money, and a young daughter who needed milk. “I left home without knowing what to do. At the bus stop, I took a piece of wood out of a garbage bin and started playing with it with a pocket-knife. I ended up making a tree, then a horse. A girl who was waiting for the bus liked them and bought them. And I could buy the milk.”
From then on Roberto de Almeida has never stopped carving wood. He comes from the countryside but left because he didn’t like farm work. “Since I was a boy what I really wanted to do was draw, create things, and nobody understood me. I became an artist from necessity, but also following my desire.”
Over the next 8 years his animals became more and more extraordinary. A gallery in São Paulo (SP) buys most of his work, but he would like to see them going elsewhere as well. “I work hard. One armadillo, for example, will take me the whole day. To make a porcupine I get help from my wife and daughter. I make the animals I want to. When I get tired of one, I think of another. Then I started missing the old ones and make them again. But they are never exactly the same.”
His modest brick house with an earth floor is his pride and joy. In the garage, an old Volkswagen Beetle helps him to get about. An extra room was turned into a workshop. “Everything I have, it’s because of my art. That day, if it wasn’t for art I could have done something crazy, stolen, who knows. I was desperate. But art was the winner.”
Wood, painted toothpicks,
60 cm long.
Private collection
Wood, 60 cm tall.
Casa das Molduras collection

Wood, 40 cm long.
Private collection
São Gonçalo Beira-Rio
Várzea Grande
Center West
Index and Addresses
Book's cover
Published by
Proposta Editorial

(55 11) 3814 3536