Art You Should Know About #1: Mario Wagner

In a new series, Esquire speaks with an expert to introduce you to an artist or artwork you should know about

Mario Wagner describes himself as “a big science geek” who still daydreams about a career in astronomy, so it's no surprise his retro-futuristic landscapes have an eerie, almost otherworldly feel to them – like 'YZ-5143411', pictured above.

“One of the reasons I make art is to explain ideas that language really can't convey,” says Mario. His work frequently features post-war motifs that evoke contradictory feelings of optimism and dread, as well as ambition and survival.

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Mario got his start creating black and white graphic novels but his narrative style soon demanded a different medium. After visiting an Andy Warhol exhibition in Berlin, he fell for the bold color of the Pop palette and his work took a more contemporary turn.

Mario’s art is poignant and atmospheric with an effortlessly cool vibe; you might have seen it used by well-known brands including Adidas, Cheerios, Absolut Vodka, Mercedes Benz and Playstation. His work also appears regularly in publications such as the New York Times Magazine, Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, Esquire and WIRED Magazine. And, like many of us, he needs a quiet moment to get in a creative mood. “When I'm bored and listening to music, that’s when I start trying new things and pushing boundaries.”

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Lisa Temple, manager of curation and content from Art.co.uk suggests: “Hang this piece of Art in your bedroom, team it with simple white walls and try a muted charcoal gray or brushed nickel frame for a masculine, sophisticated look.”

Little Known Fact:  Mario Wagner loves The Smiths.

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