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Create so that one may not die, and perhaps, by creating, we can enjoy some form of eternity.

Creative PROCESS

I mainly use a drill, a jackhammer, and a rotary tool to create my engravings. The tools I employ depend entirely on the size of my artwork, and the support (wood, ceramic, etc.), that I am using.

In my work, I use various supports: doors, tables, windows, partitions, ceramics, interior/outdoor walls, etc. I like to explore different materials iconographies because I believe that using tools and symbols in new ways allows us to rethink the concept of functionality. Art objects can inspire reflection.

Painting and relief engraving on a concrete wall.
In large works, I first paint my design, and then with a rotary tool and a jackhammer create a bas-relief engraving. In this case, I combined a woman's face with Portuguese ceramic motifs.
Bas-relief engraving of children and Portuguese ceramic motifs on a wooden wall.
I like to adapt my art to its surroundings. For a school, I chose to engrave children's faces.
Bas-relief engraving on ceramic.
In ceramic engravings, I use a “DREMEL” rotary tool.
I like to use ceramic because it is a durable and historical material that gives an ‘eternal’ aura to my work.
I began my relief engraving work on ceramics. I love the Portuguese tile tradition, and I often include Portuguese ceramic motifs in my compositions.


My name is Telmo GUERRA. I was born and raised in Tortosendo, Portugal, a country where art is present everywhere. My desire to create started at a young age; I started with acrylic painting at the age of 13.

In 2012, I moved to Switzerland and started making bas-relief engravings. During this time, I explored different engraving techniques and evolved as an artist.
Bas-relief engraving is one of the oldest art forms. Historically, relief engraving has been used to document major events and myths. Bas-relief engraving is visual poetry.

I like to combine my portrait engraving with elements of Portuguese iconography and ceramic art culture.
I love the intellectual process of relief engraving. Bas relief engraving makes the invisible visible. By eliminating visible matter, the invisible becomes visible.

Like a sculpture, the form is already present in the object; the artist just has to remove layers to reveal the true form.

About my artwork

The art of engraving has a long history.
Relief engraving was one of the first ways in which humans began to document. In contemporary life, this ancient art continues as a way to document myths and stories for future generations.
A relief engraving is designed to be viewed from the frontal perspective. The third dimension is simulated in a similar way as painting or drawing. I engrave portraits because I think this art genre impacts the spectator more directly; the spectator is most sensitive to faces and portraits. I often combine my engraved portraits with Portuguese iconography and motifs.

I use old doors as the support for my relief engravings because a door often symbolizes hope, opportunity, transformation, and new beginnings.


Portuguese history and culture inspire my art. In 2012, I emigrated to Switzerland, and now I find great meaning and inspiration in incorporating elements of my Portuguese heritage in my art.

I like to use the faces of famous people because icons can easily attract the viewer and enable easy comprehension of my work.

Artistic trajectory

I have a master's degree in psychology, nothing to do with the arts! So, I am a self-taught artist. I like to think that we know much more than we think we know and that we can do much more than we imagine.

The act of creating is a necessity. It is a way of discovering ourselves. We are not eternal, but perhaps by creating we can enjoy a form of eternity.

Exhibitions & awards

Various exhibitions in Portugal and Switzerland

2017 - Piece for the President of the Republic of Portugal (Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa)
2019 - Piece for Pope Francis delivered to the Vatican
2019 - Piece for the museum of António Guterres, the President of the UN in Donas / Portugal
2020 - Piece for the Olympic Committee of Portugal
2020 - 5 Pieces for the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) in Switzerland
2021 - 2 Pieces for the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland

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