Mario painted his first banner in 1965 during the psychedelic color craze and explosion of poster fever. Over the past fifty years he has continued to paint banners for marches, celebrations, rallies, protests, and other socio-political events, often hosting spontaneous banner-painting parties the night before an event.
“The walls don’t scare me anymore,” Mario said in a student Oral History Project interview at King-Chavez Prep Academy in 2013. Mario initiated his mission of socially conscious neighborhood colorization in 1971 during the establishment of Chicano Park, at the peak of the Chicano Movement in San Diego. Since then, Mario has contributed more than one hundred murals around the world, many of which still stand.
As a toddler, Mario was already learning how to paint from his father. Guillermo Acevedo had a bustling arts studio in Lima, and he brought Mario to work with him daily, teaching him perspective, shading, how to mix colors, and eventually how to operate a successful business. Mario’s canvas and panel works include portraits, socio-political/historical commentary, eco-healing art, and cosmic surrealism. He was most recently featured at the Oceanside Museum of Art “100 Artists, 100 Years” exhibit, and continues to paint, curate, collaborate, and teach.
In the 1970s, Mario was inspired by the popular medium of silkscreening. For him, posters were another way of reaching the People to communicate social messages. His posters continue to be popular, and in 2016 the Library of Congress contacted Mario to acquire the original sketches for two official Chicano Park Anniversary posters – “Veinte Años” and “Laura.” The Library is in the process of purchasing an additional seventeen original works on paper for their permanent collection.
All the works in Mario’s collection and the Acevedo collection are available for sale and exhibit. Contact Mario for details:
Check back here for upcoming public painting events, speaking events, and tours.
Basile Studio, Barrio Logan
December 10, 2016 – The opening of Mario’s latest exhibit, “We Love Barrio Logan.” These works will be on display through February 5, 2017.
Centro Cultural de la Raza
August 12, 2016 – This exhibit, curated by Mario, is the culmination of a year-long collaboration with the Oceanside Public Library to produce Latino Americans: 500 Years of History.
At the heart of Mario’s mission is ongoing dedication to grassroots organization and community collaboration. Check back here for continued updates about Mario’s latest projects in motion, which emphasize political activism and progressive social change.
Sometimes called an icon of counter-culture, Mario is often the go-to consulting artist for news on everything from Barrio Logan and Chicano Park to banner art in La Jolla and muralism in Oceanside. Check back here for community news and both recent and archived news and features articles about or related to Mario’s work.
Drawings, paintings, and prints from the collection of Mario’s father, beloved San Diego artist, Guillermo Acevedo. Born in Peru in 1920, Acevedo immigrated to the United States with his family and made a name for himself as a master draftsman, recording the architectural styles of old neighborhoods, Native Americans of the Southwest, and intricate landscapes. He is still known as an artist-observer with great sensitivity, a master at recording the human condition.