Art by Tom Swanson

Mariano Padilla: Something In Life

This is the second feature on Mariano Padilla, a muralist I got to know and travel with in Mexico and Guatemala.  He’s a sweet guy, an amazing artist, and can inspire.


Daniel:  Where are you from and how old are you?

Mariano: Im from Buenos Aires, Argentina and I am 25 years old. 

Daniel:  You roots as an artist are in graffiti, correct?

 IMG_20140621_115323877_HDRMariano:  Probably the best decision I’ve made to get into art is to start travelling, going after some snow when I was 19; I’d decided that I didn’t wanted to live in a city and I was sure I was not going to work in something normal. With the travels I started getting inspired, being in contact with nature and being in beautiful places… that’s why my works features repetitive patterns and geometry. It’s all inspired by nature.

I have always had an eye on art, something called my attention to it since I was young. But I believe I really got into it after high school when I started studying graphic design; I observed every logo, and board, flyer, website and whatever visual image and design.   I was also looking for a way of earning money and travelling, so designing with the computer was the way I made it for some years.

It was in the beginning of 2012 that I started painting walls and I saw that I could do the same as I was drawing in little scales in really big ones.  I could say I started painting walls using cans on street walls, so that’s a graffiti, but I don’t feel I am a graffiti artist.  I was just experimenting to get to what I do today. But I believe I have a lot more to learn, and there are lots of techniques that I haven’t tried yet, but I will. I’m always into trying new things, that’s how I evolve.

Daniel: Were you doing any art in life before this?

muralterrazachinaMariano:I have been experimenting with art since I was young, but it’s only been several years since I decided to really dedicate my life to it, and live from art.

Daniel:  What was going on in your life when you found art?

Mariano:  I can say I found art in one of my travels to la Patagonia, when I started drawing with this style I have nowadays, this abstract organic style. In those days I was working as a graphic designer.

Daniel:  Travel has been a big part of your life and your evolution…  When did you start traveling?  And to where?

Mariano:  I feel every time I stop traveling my art stops evolving, so it’s a really interesting wheel I can’t stop moving.  Maybe one day.  I know I also need to stay in one place for some time to make some paintings to exhibit in galleries, but now I’m more interested in sharing my art around the world.

Daniel:  What is life like in Patagonia?muralkonex

Mariano:  Life in la Patagonia is as you want to be, but the thing is what ever you are doing, you wake up knowing that you are in one of the most beautiful places in the world.  Then it’s about each day, what someone wants to do for living… but nature is always there.

Daniel: What does travel do for your art?

Mariano:  Travel for me is evolution in my art, getting inspired by new patterns that I see in plants, animals, insects and what ever nature art is.  Because nature is the best artist. It’s so crazy:  Some things are perfectly designed.

Daniel:  In Argentina, what kind of projects have you done?IMG_20140621_115357181_HDR

Mariano:  In Argentina I’ve been painting murals in a lot of places… restaurants, hostels, houses, offices, cultural centers and more.  I’m really looking forward to painting big scale murals. Maybe one day if I go back to my city – which is getting really involved in mural art – maybe one day I’ll paint some big walls there.

Daniel:  What is spontaneity and what does it do for us?

Mariano:  It’s part of my lifestyle and art style.  Life without plans or sketches. Making important decisions every day, doing what I feel and trying to be the most free I can.

Daniel:  Your plan is to travel around the globe?

Mariano:  I have been working in a personal project called “Spontaneous Beings” that the aim is to share my art all around the world.  But my plans change every day… but one of my personal goals is to leave a mural in each country I visit.

 Daniel:  If you could say anything to the people of the world, what would it be?

Mariano:  That if you want something in life you just have to go for it, what ever you want you can do it, you just have to really want it – even the most impossible things… and dreams come true.

Daniel:  What was it like to do Jay Adams’ board?

Mariano:  For sure it was one of the most important things in this 2014, to start painting surfboards and 3 weeks after have the opportunity to paint a board for this legend is priceless. I feel if I stop painting today, I am glad for what I’ve done, but I know I can get further on.  This artist world where I’m entering is limitless.  I just have to be open to things like this to happen, and they will happen.

 Daniel:  How did you guys decide to do something together?



Mango (with mohawk in effect) and one of Mariano’s paintings in the foreground. We drove from Puerto to Chacahua on a whim one fine day

Mariano:  The story about how I got to paint his surfboard is awesome. Life is awesome; we don’t have to let opportunities pass. One day, in Puerto Escondido (Mexico), I was with my friend Matias, and a friend told us that Jay Adams was going to be in a skate clinic there, so we decided to go and hear what the legend was saying. We arrived to the place and I start regretting that I hadn’t brought my business cards or cellphone (with pictures) to show him the surfboards I had already painted. We took a photo with him and I said to myself that the next time I saw him I would go and show him my work.   And so it was.  Two days later he went surfing at the beach near my house where I went daily; I ran to grab my cards and cellphone, and reached him when he was pulling his surfboard from inside his truck.  I just had to show him one photo and he was all in. He told me to meet him in his hotel that evening, so I went there to look for Jay Adams and his surfboard, but the receptionist of the hotel wasn’t very nice and thought I was fan.  So I left a little disappointed but with the hope I would come across him an other day. The next morning a friend that I had painted a surfboard for came to me and told me, ‘hey you won’t believe what have just happened: I was getting out of the sea and an older tattooed man started chasing me, and he asked me who had painted my surfboard, so I told him your name.  It seemed he already knew who you were and he said you had to go to the hotel to look for that board’.  So after that I realized that he really wanted me to paint his surfboard, so I finally meet him at the hotel; we went up his room and chose the right board to paint from his collection.

Daniel:  You spent a little with him.  What was your impression of the legend?

Mariano:  That he was sick about boards.  It was all he wanted, ride ride ride. Of course I could also see all those years of gnarly shit he’d been into, but it was part of him…  He was the first, best skater ever.

Daniel:  There was no clue that he’d soon be dead.  What did he give the world?

Mariano:  He left the idea that there are no limits.


If interested in having Marianno do a piece for your home or business, contact him at

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