Mario Sughi – This Dublin Life

by Nathan SpoorPosted on

Art is happening all over the world. That is, art is being created and produced by someinteresting individuals from around the globe, in big cities, small coves, by varieties ofpeople in varying degrees of youngness. Across the pond (as we are located in theStates for the most part), a lad by the name of Mario Sughi is producing work using thelife around him and the imagination that charges his hands to create and his mind toturn. Take a peek as Mario shows us a few new pieces that he prepared for shows inLondon as well as his native Ireland.

So tell us a little about yourself, Mario. How is life in Dublin, and how did youenjoy growing up there?

I have been in Dublin for 20 years and more now. The place has all its old and newproblems, and it has changed and is still changing rapidly of course, but personally I stilllike it immensely.

I am not a very good swimmer myself and the sea here is never as warm as, forexample in Italy (that is where I was born), but I love very much the fact that you canswim here in Dublin. I don’t know of many other big cities in the world where you can stillswim in the sea or in the rivers, these days. I am not sure that you can swim in Paris orin New York – you certainly can’t in Rome. You could swim in our cities in the SeventeenHundreds but not anymore.

Then at the end of the Summer, and for the next few months, Dublin Bay will beinhabited by thousands of visiting birds that fly here from all over the world. Black Geeseand lonely Curlews amongst the others. They make the place even more colourful andcosmopolitan. They must have come here every winter for centuries now. I know thishappens in many other cities and places, but here in Dublin you can see it. It is clearlyvisible and beautiful. You get the feeling that despite all the present changes there issomething that lasts longer and that you are part of it. It is a nice feeling; I believe it putsyour entire life into a more complete and real dimension.

Were you a creative type as a child, or did you find your voice as an artist lateron?

I don’t know. As a child one is never exactly aware about himself, I guess. Certainly Inever considered myself to be an artist. As a child I was already a very self-containedperson. This is true. Today I am happy to spend hours and hours alone in my place withmy drawings. Similarly, as a child, I could have played alone and without ever growingbored for an entire afternoon. This is probably the only thing I can say with certaintyabout myself.

Did you attend an art school or pursue any sort of training in the arts?

I never attended art school. My father, Alberto, is an artist, a well-known Italian painter.I used to spend days in his studio watching him paint and trying (though not verysuccessfully) to imitate him. But possibly I must have learned something of what it is tocreate images means in those days.

Your work is very intriguing, making it difficult to pick apart the process of itscreation. Could you share any light on how you go about making these expressivescenes?

My work is about my unconscious urgency to capture and reproduce aspects andmoments from everyday life. I start drawing using and manipulating the pictures I havetaken earlier with my camera. Once I have finished sketching some figures (usuallybeautiful women or funny men) and I have added some elements of the landscape, Istop and I look at them more closely. As I study the drawing I try to question and listen tothem (I mean those women and men). Who are they? What are they doing? And I try tocomplete the work, (their movements, their whereabouts, the space in which they move),following carefully all the answers I am able to get from them.

When you are choosing your subject matter or planning the scenes – do youever branch out from found subjects and use models to set up the action?

The models are the people living in my city. When I am in town I always bring thecamera with me. The pictures I take are my main references. But in order to make thosepictures beautiful and full of life, I have to redraw them, to place them in a wider context.At times I feel a bit like a cook. I go to the main shops in town to buy and steal all thebest ingredients. And once back in the studio here at home, I start the cooking. I enjoyall the moments of the work. One is part of the other.

Besides making art, what do you get around to during a usual day?

I spend something like 8-10 hours a day drawing on my computer. After this there is stilla bit of time for my friends, my reading, some walks by the sea, a visit to an art gallery, acouple of days journey in the countryside, a bit of music, and some mad jokes in a cozyIrish pub.

What’s the art scene like in Dublin? Are there some key spots that you lovearound your home space there?

The Dublin art scene is very fresh and lively. No doubts about this. But if you are longingfor great international art/exhibitions, I am afraid you have to travel to London. Inthis regard the Francis Bacon exhibition at the Municipal Gallery curated by Silvesterin 2000, andthe Lucien Freud’s exhibition at Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) in 2008, have been only two great, splendid,exceptions.On a smaller scale there is an abundance of art galleries and cultural centres.I am myself a member of the IGI (Illustrators Guild of Ireland). We organize art eventsand exhibitions and we bring together all our stories on a very successful blog atwww.scamp.ie.

Do you find more response for the art in Ireland or the surrounding areas, say, the UKor abroad?

I am not sure. I feel that art today needs money, as it is becoming more a commoditythan a necessity. The response to art was great here in Ireland during the economicgrowth (the years of the famous/infamous Celtic Tiger 1995/2007). But things havegotten considerably worse since the recession hit the country a couple of years ago orso.

How do you feel about exhibiting your art, do you show often or is it more of acommercial pursuit?I like to take part in exhibitions. Of course all artists are happy to show their ownwork and you can’t hide that trying to sell our works is a vital part of our business.I am extremely lucky with this new exhibition at the Greenroom Art in Manchester.The curators and organizers of the exhibition, Blank Media Collective, are doing a marvelous job. They are literally doingeverything for me, from promotion to printing, framing and hanging the exhibition. This isa kind of a dream. The day of the opening I will be able to go and visit my own exhibitionas a spectator and I feel this is the best way to enjoy it.

Tell us a little about your current body of work. How did you decide to workin this style and what do you look for when pushing your work further along?

A “New sense of emptiness” (this is the title of the exhibition in Manchester) is a groupof 20/30 works (digital prints I made between 2009 and 2010).I believe they can be appreciated either as colorful and spatial images or as aplayful portrait of the world and society we all live in. The works portray the worldas a beautiful colorful world, where beauty and fashion are two important elements.The people meet both in elegant interiors and spacious open-air locations.However behind a joyful appearance a mixture of emptiness and boredom starts toemerge.

Tell us a little about what you see in the future for you and your work. What wouldyou like to do and where do you see things heading?

I don’t know. To be honest I really don’t know. My only hope is to be able to enjoy mydrawing the way I have been enjoying it all the way… and of course to create somebeautiful images. Nothing else.Mario SughiDublin, Irelandwww.nerosunero.org

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