We're really not supposed to pick favorites but, if we were held at gunpoint or something, we'd have to say that Mario Wagner's collage for The Box at The Standard, Hollywood is definitely one of our favorite all-time art installations (click here to see it). Since that collaboration, Mario has been a very busy man. He created a unique bottle design for Absolut Vodka, helped us by creating some Obama campaign buttons, had a major solo show in Portland, and whipped up some cover art for a little old publication called The New York Times Book Review.
The New York Times Book Review, Sept. 15, 2013. Cover art by Mario Wagner
When Mario let it slip that he might have some down time this October - we instantly jumped at the chance to have him design a collages for the 6th Street Mural at The Standard, Downtown LA. As an added bonus, he went ahead and made it interactive. He partnered with the smartphone app Snaps! to turn the mural into a virtual photobooth AND he partnered with ART.COM to create a series of prints based on the mural art, check out the available prints here. So cool, we know. Here's what Mario had to say about it:
STANDARD: This is your third collaboration with The Standard and the biggest one yet. Does the size and public nature of the 6th Street Mural influence your process?
Mario Wagner: Not really. I worked for Absolut Vodka on a 30ft tall installation, since then nothing really shocks me anymore. The only tricky thing is to get everything printed out on such a large scale. ART.COM was really helpful and let me use their resources. Thanks again, ART.COM, for the support.
Mario Wagner's bottle design for Absolut Vodka
Do you work to music? Name three songs you listened to while working on or conceiving this installation?
Yes, I do. But I can't remember what I was listening to when I worked on the installation but I assume it was something atmospheric like Yellow Swans, Barn Owl or Godspeed You Black Emperor or some new wave / industrial stuff from the 80s ;-)
For this piece, you’ve partnered with Snaps!, a smartphone app that allows the public to add virtual props to photos they’ve taken, essentially, turning the mural into a photo booth. This is such a fun idea, have you worked with Snaps! before? What kind of props are you creating for the app?
This is the first time I will collaborate with SNAPS and I'm really excited and can't wait how the whole thing will turn out. What I want to create is a "Living Collage" where you can transport yourself into one of my artworks. You can place yourself in front of the mural, take a photo of it and add elements like clouds, horses, trees, UFOs and put a black mask on your face. Fun stuff like that. Can't wait to try it myself ;-)
Describe your perfect day? Where would you go? What would you eat?
I would wake up early, have a very relaxed breakfast and either we would take our dog to the beach or to a park in the Berkeley Hills or go shopping in SF. Both is a lot of fun. We love Delfina pizza or mexican food. Or I would just cook something healthy. I think the most important ingredients for a relaxed day are my wife and our dog ;-)
Word on the street is that you’re a devoted pet owner, what’s your dog’s name? And does she do any tricks?
Her name is Lemonade and my wife taught her some tricks. She can do "Bang!", she falls down like she got shot. She is a lot of fun and pretty crazy.
What’s up next for you?
I might change things up a little and get even more non figurative and try new outlets. I just did a silk scarf for my last show in Portland at Breeze Block Gallery which turned out pretty well and I want to do more.
Silk scarf designed by Mario Wagner for The Breeze Block Gallery
Mario Wagner's installation for the 6th Street Mural at The Standard, Downtown LA will be on display through mid-December.