1. What’s your story? Where are you from?
My name is Mariano Pagella, I’m a designer from Argentina living in Barcelona. I grew up in Adrogué, a very small town outside the province of Buenos Aires. When I started university I moved to the capital city, where I studied graphic design and had the opportunity to work in some great studios from different areas around creativity and design. After that and after having lived a few months between New York and Buenos Aires, I finally moved to Barcelona, where I have been living for more than a year.
2. Tell us about your aesthetic.
I love to play with composition by finding bold shapes; I must say that I have a certain unconscious fanaticism for geometry. I love Bauhaus, Kandinsky, Memphis movement, but I also often turn to more organic compositions, always looking for some kind of equilibrium. The typography is also fantastic, I love to explore it and use it more like a morphology, not only like a text to say something; sometimes I like to take it to the extreme, maybe influenced by the great David Carson. Finally, color has a super important role for me, it can change the way to see something in a powerful way. In general, I almost always try to avoid results where it is too evident in a first impression what I want to say, I prefer instead to be a little more abstract so when you see it more carefully you can find new concepts and find a certain sensitivity on them.
3. What is your favourite medium and why?
I really like to combine digital and tactile design, and go from one to another.
Sometimes I sketch in a notebook and sometimes directly on the computer, and depending on the concept I choose I decide whether I will do it one way or the other.
Sometimes I just use the computer to create the full artwork and sometimes I like to create some sets, combining different objects and materials, painting objects, printing some patterns that I ´ve already designed digitally, creating some paper craft by hand, whatever allows me to create the composition that I have in mind. The good thing about one medium and another is that each one has its own characteristics and rules, so it generates a nice challenge to be able to adapt by them and the result also surprises me, it’s funny even when sometimes people think that some handmade designs were a 3D render.
4. What is your artistic process like?
If it’s a commissioned project, I usually talk with the client as much as I can trying to understand their needs to see what the best concept is and how I will execute it.
Once I have brainstormed enough and decided how I will do it, I look for some references in different media, I try not to go too much to the famous portfolios websites to avoid being repetitive, whenever I can I try to inspire myself in other things outside design world. Then when I know which is the look and feel, I start doing the design process, in each project I always try to go further than the previous one, sometimes too much and I have to go back and sometimes I give in the right place in a short time. After a lot of sketches I select the best ones and I adjust all the details.
If instead it’s a personal project, the concept is more spontaneous and with more freedom and thus I can experiment as much as I want. It usually originates from my need to express certain concerns I have at that moment, sometimes from the moment I’m going through, like when I made a city poster series in the middle of a trip in New York or when I was in Paris for a while and made some paper craft artworks that talked about nostalgia.
5. Who and/or what inspires your work?
Of course, I enjoy watching the work of different artists who handle other techniques and styles, which, for sure, inspires me unconsciously. I also look at other disciplines of design such as industrial, architecture, textiles, ceramics and also in books on the history of design, like many precursors of the Bauhaus; it’s great to see that using less sophisticated techniques than the current ones reached extraordinary results. But I think that the inspirations I use to arrive at results that I consider more original comes from places outside the design world, sometimes from conversations with friends, sometimes from places I went, sometimes from a movie or from the moment in which I am living. And I think the one I like most is music, I think that level of abstraction and poetry has infinite forms of interpretation and that attracts me a lot.
6. What role does art play in your life? How does it change the way you view the world?
I believe that it plays a fundamental role not only for me, to everybody. It’s stimulating, it can change your mood, forces you to reflect, to question and mainly I think that as human beings it is indispensable to live, I do not imagine life without the existence of any type of art, it would be sad, I think that art gives much more sense to the lifetime. I particularly try to express myself maybe in the limits of design and art. but who really cares. I think the important thing is that I can I enjoy both the process and the result equally and it helps me to have a better view of the world and in the best case to contribute my little grain of sand in order to improve it; or at least adding some color on it.
7. Where did you study?
I studied Graphic Design at FADU / UBA (School of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of the Buenos Aires University).
8. Where do you see yourself in five years?
I see myself focusing more on the projects that I enjoy doing the most, I am not so interested in standing out for a particular style but for a personal vision that goes beyond the style or technique used. And also working from my studio in Barcelona, that maybe in five years will be in front of the sea.
9. What about in ten?
I imagine myself dedicating completely to those projects, traveling much more than I currently do.
10. What do you hope to achieve with your art?
To generate something, a change, a reflection, a smile, an action, an inspiration, curiosity, but always something. I do not look for beauty in itself, but behind there, there is something to convey.
11. Now, tell us a little more about you as a person: what is your favourite food?
I love lentils, it is the most versatile food I know, I like them cold in a fresh salad and hot in a super stew in winter.
12. Favourite book?
‘Crónicas del Ángel Gris” (Chronicles of the Gray Angel), of Alejandro Dolina.
13. Favourite genre of music?
Impossible to choose just one! More now that there are so many subgenres.
I listen quite varied according to the mood or what I’m doing at that moment, although lately I must say that I became obsessed with the “french cheerful electro-pop” to call it somehow, like L’Impératrice, Papooz, specially Polo & Pan, I love it, I usually listen to it when I need to choose a colourful pallette.
14. What are your hobbies?
I am not a great athlete, but when I go out to run a good distance listening to nice music, it is a unique moment of relax; I also love to ride bike. And having a beer with friends…is it a hobby, too?
15. If you weren’t an artist, what would you be?
Musician; or surfer like David Carson.