Faintly Beyond Real: Mario Hugo
Based in New York, Mario Hugo is an editorial and graphic designer who works for big name clients and freelances, focusing on his own fine art illustrations. His typographic approach is experimental, featuring geometric shapes and graphic abstractions. Mario also focuses on his own fine art creations, placing a special value on hand-crafted, tactile art.
His work can be seen on his website, http://mariohugo.com, where his listed clients include: Beck, Channel 4, Decemberists, Dolce & Gabbana, Interscope Records, Gogol Bordello, Gucci, Kylie Minogue, Phish, MTV, and Wired Magazine.
This interview was conducted by RS Art Director Michael Robinson:
1. What's your personal mantra?
Fall into holes, claw your way out.
2. What does the role of artist mean to you?
I think a pleasant phrase or a graceful motion can be art - I don’t think of artists having a terribly defined role. I think when a creative expression transcends its media and shows you a bit of its soul, it is a work of art. I think an artist pursues that grace and that soul, or maybe grace and soul finds them instead. I just want to make work I believe in.
3. What is the driving force behind your creativity?
I think I most respond to work that is faintly beyond real - work that captures the inexplicably odd and mystical moments that punctuate the random and mundane. There are all kinds of little things I personally find wonderful and fascinating - friends and memories, myth and phenomena. I’d like my work to be honest, but honesty should never be at the expense of invention, abstraction, and fantasy.
4. What transformative experiences have influenced your life and how has that manifested in your work?
Cancer took the life of my Aunt when she was quite young. I want to leave something behind. I like things I’ve drawn, but I’m not content with or confident in what I’ve produced. I would like to make things much bigger than myself - work that touches people - but I haven’t to date. This is perhaps more manifesto than a description of what has manifested in my work.
5. How long does it take you on average to complete a piece of work, and do you ever do several pieces simultaneously?
I work commercially, so there are certainly different projects happening simultaneously. My process with personal work is quite slow and contemplative - there is a lot of romance and planning. I really like words, so titles frequently predate the drawings. I recognize that sometimes the best things happen when we let go, but a good audiobook, a pencil, and a couple sheets of paper can feel almost cathartic at the moment, so maybe its not so bad to take a little longer than necessary.
6. Why should people check out your work?
After the soul searching in the 4th question, I don’t know I’d give much of a recommendation at the moment, haha.
7. How does your work affect Consciousness, and what are your views on the evolution of consciousness?
I have never affected consciousness, but I’d like to celebrate consciousness. I answered earlier that I’d like my work to be honest, but never at the expense of oddity - I have a reason. My views on the evolution of consciousness are, at best, confused and contradictory. What I can say with conviction is I believe this floating rock of ours is a bit grander than we give credit. I’d like to grow, explore allegories, experiment with phenomena, and tell some beautiful stories.