Mario Sánchez Nevado is an illustrator and art director based in Madrid. He is a diverse artist with outstanding skills in digital illustration, photo manipulation, and digital painting. This interview will showcase Mario’s talent, passion, and the inspiration behind his works.
Your works show your passion in arts. All of them are catchy and beautiful. Does your passion in arts help you get a job or is it just your way of life? Why or why not?
Yes, my passion for arts is what pays the bills, actually. I work full-time on my own freelancing studio, Aégis Illustration. It’s focused on the creation of CD cover artworks and packagings for music bands, as well as book covers and editorial illustration. Since I started my artistic career I always knew that this is what I wanted to become… So I did it! When I’m out of the studio, I keep working in other projects, such as my personal illustrations, composing music or giving a hand with performance acts. So that’s why I say it’s a way of life: I’m never out of it!
Most of your works are in dark atmosphere and I’d love to say you presented them very well. So, what’s with this dark atmosphere that catches your attention and interest in creating them?
Well, this one’s a hard one to answer. When you are young and you start creating your own images, there’s something in your mind that pushes you to go in one direction or another, and this applies to most artists I believe. I’m not sure if that’s something you choose, but what you have become because your life happenings, so you go for it. In the years you get to develop that artistic language, then is when you actually choose to keep it pure or to transform it to get new directions, which is what I did.
I think that should be it. Creating dark art doesn’t mean that one has to be a tortured artist – In my case, it’s quite the opposite: I see the world as something beautiful and full of magic thanks to nature, but I see the human race as the darkness that it’s engulfing it into decay, so I try to scream that with my images and tell the world my vision on this matter.
Your photo manipulation skill is jaw-dropping. When did you start doing photo manipulation and who influences you in doing such?
It was around ten years ago. I was in the middle of my Fine Arts degree, and I can tell you I was bored as hell of making the same things over and over again: I was tired of having a charcoal or a piece of clay in my hands. At that time I was a freelance web designer, so I quite knew how to use some digital imaging tools. One day I just had to mix both knowledge to see what would happen, and my first photo manipulation was created. From that day, I focused myself more and more into it until present day.
I think that what pushed me into this, was my admiration for CD cover artworks, especially the photo manipulated ones by Travis Smith, as he was the designer of most of my favorite bands at that time. I wanted to be there and know how would it feel… And here we are.
How do you put balance to digital and traditional methods when making your artworks?
I guess it’s just a matter of having a good eye for aesthetics. There’s not a magic method or rule to do so. You can mix an empty beer bottle and a bulb and make it look beautiful if you have that “sixth sense”. You can start a piece in either medium and decide what’s missing from the other one and then, switch to it, even several times, until you know you’ve got that balance on which you can hardly tell what came first.
Some of your works put an emphasis on the head part such as your Patience, Symphony and Nirvana projects. Can you tell us why you do that?
I think that everything happens in our heads, and as art can be self liberating from the issues of this world (or the engine who can think in solving them), the characters on my illustrations work in the same way. I talk about their feelings or intentions in that heads that become something else, and their meaning is all about the context you can see surrounding the characters, just as it would happen in real life. One of the biggest lines of dialogue in my artwork is about how we interact and deal about the contexts surrounding us, from the smallest ones, such as our neighborhood, to bigger things as our culture, political situation or country, and how that affects us in our everyday lifes.
What process did you go through when you manipulated Betrayal?
The main idea for “Betrayal” appeared in a series of three sketches I created for an etching project I was working on back in 2008. I never finished the project ‘though, so those ideas, as many others, ended up in a folder or a drawer, until I found them again when arranging home move. These sketches were about domestic violence. I picked my favorite of the three and started to do the final art in digital. As it usually happens, the image started to take a different shape and I followed it. The composition and feeling is basically the same, but adding all that nature on the woman, and the civilization on the gun gave it a total different meaning. There’s a complete story about its process, with pics of the making and such available on my website.
Does music play an important role in your life? If so, can you tell us why?
Well, of course! As I told you, it was one of the main reasons I wanted to become what I am know. I’m deeply passionate about (almost) all kinds of music. I’m always listening to something 24/7. I used to borrow song titles to name my first illustrations, or to take my favorite songs and illustrate them, and that’s why nowadays I spend my time creating artworks for music bands all over the world, because it all started with my devotion for music and the fact that back in the day, I bought some of my now all-time favorite albums by their covers.
If you could describe your arts in 3 words, what would those words be and why?
Storytelling, because that’s what I am by doing them: to tell tales of reality from my point of view; Emotional, as usually my language comes from the feelings and aims to reach the feelings of other people to send the message; and Caustic, because a twisted sense of reality can be the key for us to understand what is happening in our surroundings.