For over a century, our region has been home to extraordinary artists. Local Arts Index highlights the work of individuals who continue our community’s rich creative legacy.
Meet Mario the Magician.
How Did You Become an Artist?
That word scares me sometimes! I was lucky to have a few amazing teachers in high school that inspired me and taught me that a career in the arts was just as valuable to society as that of a doctor or anyone else. That really stuck with me.
At the age of fifteen, I got a job at a local florist. They, too, taught me the importance of working hard, being self-employed, and how to arrange the right color patterns into a limited amount of space. That in itself unlocked a lot of new ideas for me in the coming years.
Magic is the art form that really allowed me to explore all my passions. All kinds of problem solving: woodworking, painting, sewing, electronics and puppetry.
What Kind of Art Do You Make?
Anything that inspires me. I hate labels, and I go through seasons. I am obsessed with electronics, building circuits from scratch, and anything mechanical. I love taking things apart. I’ve wasted a lot of money buying things just to break them open! I have an obsession with wanting to know how and why things work.
Right now I’ve been sewing my own jeans. I carefully took apart a pair that fit me well, and I replicated them. Now I know how jeans work! My ultimate goal is to create a whole Mario the Magician outfit, tailored specifically to all my comedy bits. I’ve heard this said and I live by it: “That which I cannot make, I do not understand.”
What’s Your Muse?
Breathing, life all around me. Everything is beautiful, and everything is an opportunity to create. I hate it when people become defined by what they do and not by who they are. I believe it limits us as human beings when we do that. Our mind is the most mysterious thing the universe has ever created. I don’t ever want to stop learning.
Performing with my sidekick, Marcel the Mechanical Monkey! He’s the new addition to my show this year. It is the most complicated thing I’ve ever created. I built all of the circuitry from scratch, designed and 3D printed all his joints and body. He picks things up, knocks things over, answers questions, etc.
I did a small lecture at the MakerBot store in Manhattan on July 2nd about how I created Marcel.
Mario’s wife, Katie, along with the filmmaker of Building Magic, Kal just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a feature-length version of the Building Magic. The campaign ends on August 7th, and if it’s successful, filming for the feature will commence mid-August.
To stay up to date on the film project, live events, and other news, follow Mario on Facebook.
Local Arts Index is sponsored by Maria Luisa, 77 South Broadway and ML Gifts & Accessories, 75 South Broadway, Nyack, NY