Featured Artist: Mario Sostre

Interview by Lisa K. Salerno

Lisa: I really love the new works on paper. This new series has a great balance of color and texture. I see a combination of paint, collage, and possibly also printmaking? Will you tell me a bit about your process in creating these?

Mario: I just started rolling paint on paper with a brayer, letting it dry then adding another layer. I cut out circles to lay on top of the dry paint; rolled more paint to get the under painting not knowing what I was doing until I heard the news about the planets, that’s when I said to myself, they are planet circles and that’s it really.


 Lisa: There certainly are a lot of circles in this series. Is there symbolism behind it or is your use of circles a purely intuitive or aesthetic decision?

Mario: A little of both. How the series started was I heard on the news that NASA, the space agency discovered a solar system with planets like ours. Well that got the ball rolling, no pun intended.


 Lisa: I see a lot of possible influences in your work, from Modern to Post-modern and Contemporary.  What would you say are your biggest artistic influences?

Mario: One of the leading influences that got me started was when I saw a Robert Ruashenberg exhibition, it left me breathless to see all the chaos of
objects somehow making sense. Another of course is Andy Warhol and then along came Basquiat which I immediately had a connection, since it is part Puerto Rican, that sealed everything for me.


Lisa: You have been active as an artist in NYC since the 1980’s. Do you feel as though location can has an impact on an artist’s work? If so, how has the city environment affected your art?

Mario: Oh, sure it has. My work has definitely been influenced by living in NYC, especially in Hell’s Kitchen in the 60’s, 70’s, 80’s to the present. My work has a fat pace action, just like the city, constant moving of people, cars, buses, noise and weather. I use various kinds of paint, found objects and what ever is at hand. In the 80’s I co-founded a theater company called Teator Alegre, we performed mostly in the Lower Eastside.


Lisa: Over the years, you have been involved with projects to raise awareness for AIDS. What role do artists play in creating social change? What can other artists do to help a cause they believe in?

Mario: They can start by being aware of their surroundings and try to make a positive input where needed. By finding out what the cause is and if it’s something that moves them.


Lisa: Anything else you’d like to share?

Mario: I wish that the world would be a place of peace, where the children have no fear.


Lisa: Also, I have your website. Any other links (social media, etc.) that you would like to share?

Mario: Yes, I have FB and Twitter but I use my blog instead for any art events postings etc. http://mariosostre.blogspot.com

 Lisa K. Salerno is an Art Writer with the London-based publication Niji Magazine, and Art Editor and a regular Art Columnist at Inigo Online. Her art and writing has also been featured in the Autism Speaks website, the Artful Vagabond, The Connecticut River Review and in several other online and print publications.