Mario Quilles

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Artist Statement


I grew up in NYC. After graduating the High School of Industrial Arts, I began The Cooper Union Art School, and then I went on to work in the New York Advertising/graphics world, as an Art Director for a number of years. I bought a loft in Soho in it’s early years, and was there for over 20 years.  In 1985 I moved to Los Angeles where I went on to study Ceramics arts, glaze chemistry, Raku and low firing techniques at Glendale Community College.

In 1990, on my way to Portugal, I stopped to see an old friend in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and have been here ever since.   I have continued to work in ceramics.  My work has been exhibited in various shows and galleries, in Philadelphia, Chapel Hilll, N.C., Los Angeles, Kansas City, San Angelo Texas, San Diego CA and of course Santa Fe, and is part of the permanent collection of the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

After those many years of living in urban areas, when I arrived in Santa Fe, the arroyos and skies, and wild cacti, led me to start making clay pieces which reflected my new surroundings. To this day I’m still influenced by the abstract shapes of the cactus above ground and the roots below ground. I found an oyster shell in my back yard and came to realize that at one time all here was covered by ocean and then glaciers. This has been reflected in my work.  The work reveals itself in colorful images and shapes. I hope it then resonates to the viewer. The pieces are low-fired stoneware, which allows me to get a range of engobe bright colors.  Some of the glazes are airbrushed and some are hand painted. The pieces are all slab built, rolled out with a rolling pin, and then hammered from the inside, to create the surface shapes. I am using handmade tools which I make from roots and branches that I have found along the arroyos to do the hammering. I also use industrial mats for additional textural effects.
The pieces are never perfectly symmetrical, but reflect nature’s asymmetrical designs.

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