Ongoing And Past Projects
Here you will see a showcase of ongoing projects Mario is working on as well as some past works and commissions. Most works are available for purchase if not already sold. Please get in touch if you are interested in acquiring a work. Thank you.
As artists, we experiment with new media all the time. Sometimes we feel an affinity with one media that it keeps us coming back to it and becomes something of an obsession. Having come from a design and digital background, the hands-on quality of leatherwork was very attractive to met. When I finished my first project, I spent every free hour practicing and making with leather. Learning as much about the craft, its culture and traditions, in the hope that one day I could master it. Now, I am combining my well-honed skills in leathercraft with my fine art and design training, hoping that I create works that resonate with my audience, to excite you as much as it excites me when I push the boundaries of expectations in leather-craft. I wish to demonstrate that this understated media, which has been for so long perceived predominantly only as a craft, has the potential to be steered from those roots towards fine art, as well.
'Playing with Leaves' is an ongoing project inspired by a game I used to play as a child where I would gather leaves and create images with them. There is a cathartic quality to playing with leaves in this way and often the leaves lend themselves to creating beautiful and harmonic forms and figures.
My only gripe as a kid was that the leaves would eventually dry, brown, and break so I could rarely share them with anyone. Leather as a medium allows me mould and shape them in various ways without worrying about their immediate decay. I now assemble them in the same fashion as I did as a kid, pushing the possibilities of what they can turn into. Conceptually, making leaves out of leather then assembling the leaves into figures and forms sometimes telling a story, is a comment on the fictions that we fill our lives with. The stories that give us identity, order and pleasure that make up our identity. In hindsight I see that as a kid I played this game as a way to make the world of an immigrant child in a foreign land a more pleasant and fantastical place where meaning was made where there was little sense. As an adult I guess I now add to the levels of fiction in the stories I make up. Its a lot of fun!
Playing With Leaves Project
Mathematical Knot Project
I have carved and created many knots to carve onto leatherwork in the past. Leather and knotwork forge together to create a lovely aesthetic. Recently I have been exploring mathematical knots, in particular working my way through the Alexander Briggs chart of prime knots to compound knots into patterns. These studies are leading me the correlation of knots as a decorative element in the modern landscape. This is an ongoing project.
Chess Piece Project
It is no secret that I like to make chess sets and have done so for many years now. I have played with the chessmen in my mind on many occasions, even as a kid before I ever knew the actual rules of chess, I would play with the pieces to make scenes and tell stories. Chessmen inherently are very expressive, they are iconic symbols and are representative of societal hierarchies that exist in many cultures. It is interesting that the weakest piece, the pawn is the one most people relate with, but we can all accept we possess qualities from all the other pieces; be it the bravery of the Knight, the under-appreciated but complete reliance of the Queen, or the fickle self importance of the King. There is a lot of poetry in these pieces, which is a lot of fun to play with. This is an ongoing project.