Ten Questions 010 – Mario Hugo

January 13th, 2011 by Mat Dolphin

The new year sees the continuation of our Ten Questions series in which we ask fellow designers, illustrators, photographers, directors and other random creative folk the same set of questions. The answers always vary and always give an insight into the thought process behind the work. You can see the others in the series here.

I’ve been a fan of Mario Hugo’s work for a long time. I came across his original site, the now defunct loveworn.com and found the beautiful illustrations and intricate, playful typography a constant source of inspiration. Since I first became aware of his work Mario has gone on to work with clients such as Dolce & Gabbana, Wired Magazine, Microsoft, Channel 4, Interscope Records and, most recently, Stella McCartney. His talent has also caught the attention of design agencies such as Non-Format and Spin, who have called upon his distinctive style for various projects. Somehow he’s also found the time to work on numerous personal projects and exhibitions.

Mario was kind enough to take the time out to tackle our questions.

1. How do you describe what you do?
I work in art direction, design, and illustration. Personally, I’d rather not draw those distinctions. I really like making things, and I’d like to continue exploring which of those things mean the most to me over time.

2. What made you want to do what you do?
There was this particular energy in the design community about eight to ten years back. I’m a bit nostalgic about it, but I think of it as a little golden era of design. There were a few people were really experimenting with their own visual languages and posting those experiments online for kids like me to see. It wasn’t traditional, it certainly wasn’t commercial – it was kind of competitive, and friendly, and expressive, and I didn’t know quite what I was looking at, but I knew I really liked it.

3. How would you describe your workplace?
I work from home, which can be great sometimes and miserable others. The space itself is pretty clean and comfortable, barring the surface of my desk. I guess I feel a bit guilty when I’m not working, but our cat Bella hangs around and occasionally bats at my pencil or wacom pen which is always a good excuse to hang out. We’ve also got a hammock out back for the occasional nap.

4. What is your favourite colour?
My tastes change a lot, but at the moment I love a warm, nearly orange, grey.

5. Who is your favourite artist or writer?
Haha – I’m really not good at favorites. I really like too many things to answer these questions well. I love Bruno Munari, Barney Bubbles, Carvaggio, Paul Klee, Milan Kundera, Albert Camus, David Sedaris, Milos Forman, Casey Jex Smith, the Albers, and the list is just kind of odd and ever-expanding. Its not that I don’t have favorites, its just I’ve got too many favorites to name.

6. What was your previous job?
I worked for Syrup NYC for about a year after school, had a great experience, and I’ve been freelancing since.

7. Do you work within a team? If so, how many people do you work with?
I work independently, but periodically collaborate depending on the nature or size of a project. Hugo & Marie represents some really talented designers and illustrators, and it’s always a pleasure to work with them when bigger projects come in.

8. Do you listen to music whilst working? If so, what do you listen to?
I used to follow music really closely, but then a hard drive loss forced me to start exploring radio, and now I’m an absolute audiobook zealot. Creatively, I can’t think of much I prefer to drawing with my headphones and a good book. That said, if I’m working on album stuff, I tend to drown myself in the music I’m trying to design for. Otherwise, I’ve been revisiting a bunch of the bands I grew up listening to lately – Blur, Pulp, The Cure, etc.

9. Who inspires you to do what you’re doing?
Well, in terms of creatives I’d say there are so many amazingly talented folks out there choosing one or two is a discredit the hundreds of others, but Siggi Eggertsson, Klaus Haapaniemi, and Anna Giertz can absolutely do no wrong lately.

10. Which advice has helped you the most?
Fall into holes you’re forced to claw your way out of.

Huge thanks to Mario for his time and answers. You can (and should) check out more of his work on his excellent website and follow Hugo & Marie on Twitter.

As always, thank you to you for reading what we write and feel free to get in touch.

Stay tuned for more.


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