On To The Future with Mario Wagner
When GumGum’s latest editorial venture, The Visionary, was looking for artists to launch with in their initial round of publication, they sought artists with range and an understanding of different cultures. Who better than Mario Wagner?
Mario is originally from Germany, so his experience of sport is a little different from the way we operate here in America. For The Visionary's article on advertising in sports Mario had to bring together a bunch of disparate elements and blend them all into two compositions. Soccer is obviously a huge industry in Europe, but it doesn’t carry with it the same pervasive experience that sports represent in America. “Sports is a different thing here,” Mario explains. “People are just pumped up and showy and it’s just this competitive thing. And we don’t have high school sport or college sport. We don’t have any of that. You just join a professional team if you’re good enough to play in your local team, but there’s no college. That doesn’t happen for us.” Plus there are just so many more popular sports in the US, from American Football to Baseball to Basketball, through Hockey and more. Billions of dollars and years of fans lives are applied to these games, and all of that appears in his illustration.
One of the aspects that really made this project fun for Mario is that it represents a great middle ground for his personal development as an artist. These pieces blend his “old” and his “new,” something that's more acutely obvious in a piece about the future of advertising. “I’m shifting a little bit,” Mario explains. “[The newer work is] less noisy. They are more solid colors and they are less collage, less gritty. In the past I was always adding little numbers and it was very layered, very packed, and very full of details. Now it’s a little more conceptual and a little more cleared out.” In these images for The Visionary you’ll find some photorealistic elements, some highly detailed imagery, even a grid and some symbols. But you’ll also find his new play with color and a more spacious composition. This is the New Mario mixed with the Classic Mario we first fell in love with.