We are delighted to publish the twelth of our new styled interview entitled ‘Mobile Artists on Their Artistry’. Within this interview, we ask highly successful mobile artists twenty questions about their backgrounds, their work, social media, how Covid-19 has influenced their creative life and so much more…
Today, we are proud to feature our latest interview, this time, with award winning artist Marco Prado from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States. Prado has crafted a distinct aesthetic, producing images with bold, high-contrast colours filled with energy.
To read our other interviews in this series with Jane Schultz, Susan Latty, Cindy Karp, Sukru Mehmet Omur, Deborah Kleven Morbeto, Patty Larson, Adrian McGarry, Catherine Caddigan, Rita Colantonio, Sarah Bichachi and Peter Wilkin please go here.
How would you introduce yourself to someone who doesn’t know your work?
I’d start by saying that I’m a self taught photographer and artist. I would also highlight mobile photography as a medium and its endless possibilities due to the available editing tools. I’d introduce myself through the many exhibits and honorable mentions I have had in the past few years while I am still working to extend my vision as an artist. I love to explain and encourage anyone that approaches me how to get started with a simple use of a filter / app and it’s immediate impact.
What name do you use within social media and was this a conscious decision?
I use @vastumarco
It means : “Home for the Soul “
Yes, it was a conscious decision, it’s also linked to my email.
Vastu is a Vedic science, as old as Yoga .
To me, it reflects all aspects of life that I’m interested to know and develop.
I studied architectural design in high school and also Industrial design.
I was once a Vastu consultant helping people design their spaces (home and office) to achieve the upmost energy .
Here’s a brief description:
There exist many Vāstu-Śastras on the art of building houses, temples, towns and cities. By 6th century AD, Sanskrit texts for constructing palatial temples were in circulation in India. Vāstu-Śastras include chapters on home construction, town planning, and how efficient villages, towns and kingdoms integrated temples, water bodies and gardens within them to achieve harmony with nature. While it is unclear, states Barnett, as to whether these temple and town planning texts were theoretical studies and if or when they were properly implemented in practice, these texts suggest that town planning and Hindu temples were conceived as ideals of art and integral part of Hindu social and spiritual life.
What kind of family did you grow up in?
I grew up in Brazil, where I had the most amazing childhood and parents. My father was a large animal Veterinarian, a pioneer in artificial insemination in large animals. He was also an avid photographer developing his own work in a dark room at home.
Mom was, and still is, an artist. She designed pocket books, clutches , and necklaces, all done with beads .
Our creativity was always stimulated, we had to invent our own toys by using whatever was around. That was a great lesson I learned to be the master of my own creations.
Did your childhood influence your ideas about creativity?
Absolutely, as I described above. Creativity was the first mantra I ever learned.
Did your parents support your creativity?
One hundred percent!
The interesting part was, my father knew I had talent and never allowed me to have any lessons in art school before the age of 10, so my raw talent would develop by itself . Mom was always sewing and doing her bead work . She loved asking me for ideas for her designs.
When was the first time you knew you wanted to be an artist?
Since I was born! Life takes us on many different paths, but all of the paths lead us to our own true calling.
What is creativity to you?
Creativity is to be alive and in sync with the deepest self. It’s in all of us, I think, but it needs to be worked on many layers of the unconscious.
What did you do before (if appropriate) becoming an artist?
As I mentioned before, life takes us on many different paths .
I studied industrial design, but never worked in the field. I realized that my interest was in the artistic aspect of it. During that period in Brazil, most projects done by Industrial designers were signed by Architects, so I could only become a draftsman. For that reason I decided to take a 360 degree turn. I went to work for an import/export department in a bank. That was related to one of my passions involving the use of foreign languages that could lead me to the possibility of living overseas. Funny how I made those assumptions, but it did take me to the world outside Brazil . After 10 years doing corporate work, I decided to be a free lancer and moved to London. There I enrolled in a language school and took the Cambridge exams. During that time I traveled all over Italy as an Italian and Portuguese translator working for an investor who specialized in inflatable storage units for big companies . Again, I was setting foot in the world as I had envisioned . After a few years in England, I felt that it was time to move on and I moved to the New York City and continued my holistic studies and became a therapist.
Today I have all that experience weaved and translated into my daily work.
Where are you most creative?
I carry my iPad as a sketch book . Mornings and evenings are the times I feel the most creative now . The environment sets the tone.
I like to dedicate blocks of time to work and research and study as a daily practice . This way even if I’m not feeling that creative, I am still motivated to start something that will be continued later on.
What inspires you?
Everything that moves and breathes inspires me! I’m inspired by the most simple things in life. As an artist, I’m a life observer . My daily walks are a constant reminder that the world outside pulses in a different beat than mine and that’s fuel for my creativity .
Who inspires you?
There are many people in history who have inspired me and also the many people who have crossed my path and left meaningful imprints on me.
I always look to the past and present. In my opinion, combining past experiences helps us to lead better lives. The present teaches us a new ways of seeing the world that we’re discovering on a daily basis.
Does your engagement on social media help you to plan your future projects?
My engagement in social media has brought me to know some amazing artists and their inspiring work that has led me to challenge myself in order to develop my own style .
What does your average day look like?
I do like structure. Since the pandemic started, I had to recreate my daily routine.
I like to walk in the mornings as the city awakes. I observe and capture the life that comes and goes . Since my work is based on street photography, I have developed an eye for everything that reflects my creativity. It’s like the emotion that comes when I take a picture, translates in one idea that I’ll apply to a different context.
Is it your intention to ask questions or make the viewer question what they see?
I love for the viewers to ask questions.
That’s the moment I’d like to introduce myself. The right time to engage and explain the medium and the creative process.
Is there humour in your work?
Yes, for the most part. I want to have fun and engage at the same time. I’m serious in my ideas, but always trying to find some humor and lightness . The mood is key . I always want to include a message, leaving the viewers to have their own interpretation. The idea is to provoke a reaction.
How important is failure in your work process? Do you incorporate it into your creative process?
I wouldn’t say failure, it’s more like frustration. I do take all into consideration, trying to refine the initial idea of a project . When you’re a self taught artist, like many of us , it’s a trial and error process.
How do you deal with criticism?
I do like constructive criticism. It’s a form to start a new dialogue. I’m not preoccupied in pleasing the viewer, I want to provoke a reaction .
Has the Covid-19 pandemic influenced your creative life?
Yes, the pandemic has been a game changer. Since the word of the day was Lockdown, I had to do something in order to keep my mental health.
I dove head first into learning new ideas and how to use some of the more complete editing tools that I hadn’t previously explored. I engaged in art groups trying to find like-minded people to learn and share the creative process. After a couple of months I started seeing a different type of work coming out that I hadn’t experienced before and that was what I needed to carry on and explore the new path. It was during that period that I wanted to be more of a story teller. I noticed a radical change in my work, feeling happier and more accomplished with the results. I was learning and exploring more creative ways to tell stories. I also learned to create work in a series. I would use the same theme or even one photo with several elements which I needed to break down 20 times to tell the same story. This was imperative to my learning.
Who dead or alive would you like to have dinner with?
As in the movie, Midnight in Paris directed by Woody Allen, I’d like to take a midnight ride to meet all of the impressionists, to party with them, to dine with Van Gogh, to exchange ideas with Gertrude Stein and then come back to the present to discover new and exciting technology for developing unique work after I have met some of my heroes .
What is the best piece of advice that you’ve heard and still repeat to others?
I think the best piece of advice is to be yourself, regardless of acceptance . When we’re true to our feelings, our whole being is in perfect alignment.
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