The biographies of many artists are often polished and complete after they have died. Due to the fact that I’m still alive the next sections on my life are under development…
The roaring 1920’s attracted foreign workers to build tunnels and railroads in Toronto, North Bay, Windsor, New York and Detroit. My mother’s grandfather and uncles were among them. Their story later inspired the painting of the Railway Heritage Mural on St Clair Avenue in Toronto. It was not until 1976 that my family returned to North America in time to see the top piece of the CN Tower being set. Having escaped the military dictatorship of 1970’s Argentina, we re-located from Toronto to Edmonton in 1977. I was born there on May 7, 1979.
During the time I lived in Edmonton, it was known as “the City Of Champions” for its sports dynasties and yearly championship parades. I remember seeing one of the world’s first indoor beaches there, but it seemed like celebrating our teams and heroes was all that mattered. We returned to Argentina many times after the military powers were gone and many great times parts of my childhood were spent in Buenos Aires. A Parisian inspired warm land, it was there I spent most of my time with a team of streetwise, mischievous cousins by day and family dinner parties under the bright stars at night.
EDUCATION 1984 – 2002
I knew I was an artist before I went to school, but it was there I remember others knowing it. At home I only drew pictures on regular sized pieces of paper on the floor. In Kindergarden, they gave me large paper on an easel. For the first time I remember making faces and heads that were bigger than anything I drew before! Everyone gathered around and I relished in their awe. Soon teachers and classmates recognized my potential and I was happy to share. During art classes I’d secretly help others with projects. I’d never say no if someone asked me to draw something. Eventually I would style each piece according to who was going to hand it in, it was some of the most fun I ever had. Teachers noticed but they pretended not to and I really thought we were fooling them. Until one day Ms. Bristlon confronted the class and said: “I expect 30 projects from 30 students, not 30 projects from Marcelo”. My parents, disillusioned with much of the art world and generally believing the time of artists as painters had passed, urged me to at least be technologically knowledgeable should I choose a creative career. Formally I studied graphic design and computer animation until 2002. I could execute objectives and projects the way I wanted, but realized there was no true freedom at all times, mainly because I was creating something within a computer program and there were rules. It never felt as direct, or as free as drawing or painting.
Being in a city like Toronto, I realized I could make one of my dreams come true, to make movies. I knew I couldn’t support myself just by making art at this point, so I decided to start working for the art departments of films and as an extra, hoping it would be more enjoyable than my previous jobs. In my debut I painted 300 posters for a Disney movie called ‘Camp Rock’ and word began to spread about my talent. I enjoyed a diversity of roles in film, both in front and behind the camera as time went on. In films I could discover art in different ways, like making props, posters, packaging, sculptures, and other random things. Once I even got to do an entire art show that was part of a story, exploring different styles and mediums, since the exhibit was supposed to have been done by different artists. When I produced art for the Dreamworks pilot Falling Skies, I realized one of my dreams, to work for a Stephen Spielberg film. But I needed more. With a crew of friends from the industry we shot two short films in three days. Those films were screened at the Cannes and Sundance festivals. This experience made it difficult to go back to big films and to stay within the margins of the art department. I began pondering the possibility of actually being an artist full-time and making independent films periodically with crews and projects I choose. After a 2010 a trip to Paris, I felt a re-connected to my artistic ancestors; I rediscovered an appreciation for my artistic ability.
FINE ART? WHY ME? WHO CARES?
Having already begun to show my work formally, I decided to put on a “High on Hollywood” art exhibit, my farewell to the big film industry. It touched on themes of truth in media, film culture, storytelling and the connection between Los Angeles and Toronto. It included art made in both cities from 2003-2010. Artist and friend Karey Spady, joined the movement with her tribute to the California landscape. The show was a success and attracted figures from both city’s respective industries; as well as the Toronto art scene, prominent D.J.s, photographers and musicians. More importantly, it showed me I could inspire other artists and start a movement.
In June of 2012, I had my first sculpture exhibition entitled “Rise of The Robots” meant to create awareness of the dangers of e-waste and a new way to protect the earth. I became an international artist officially with my first show in London England the “Alter Ego” exhibit in November 2012. I won the Mosaic Underground Award for best painting and for best sculpture. For charity and for the city, I co-founded The Davenport Arts Community a non profit organization and painted 2 murals. The next project is now open for sponsorship through http://www.davenportartscommunity.com. We are producing the world’s first virtual mural in 2013, putting Toronto at the forefront of the North American street art movement.