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This week I thought I would introduce you to a Staff Favourite here at the Herringer Kiss Gallery. Mario Trejo is an American artist based out of San Diego. He received his B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his M.F.A. from the San Francisco Art Institute. He is young, he is ambitious and he is physically fit – all of these things are very important when you learn how he makes his art.

Each piece consists of thousands of marks made by a pen, painstakingly drawn utilizing amazing physical control and mental focus. He sits for hours at a time, pen in hand and wood panel on a table in front of him and builds up his surface with a fine pointed pen, never taking his eyes of the work in front of him.

His work is quiet and strong, not clambering for your attention but pulling you into his surfaces with his tiny marks. You first notice an overall texture and look deeper and deeper into the layers of tiny black lines or circles. With each mark the artist declares his presence in the world and the mark he leaves behind.

Mario worked on and completed a large drawing project in the Roy Boyd Gallery in Chicago. The piece, titled “One Million” consisted of one million hand drawn and counted circles and took 2 months of working everyday from 6 am to 7 pm to complete. The video of this performance, which is 30 minutes long and sped up to 8 times real time, Mario Trejo is sitting at a piece working on the last corner of a 4 foot by 6 foot panel. You can hear the regular clicking of his pen on the surface and see the changes of light in the gallery as the day progresses. People walk through the gallery, some stop and watch, at several times you can hear a siren coming from the street outside but still, Mario remains laser focused on the task at hand. At the end of the performance, the artist simply stands up and walks away. No applause, no fan fare, not even a slap on the back and “here, have a beer”. It’s all done for the sake of doing it, finishing it, making his mark.

(Image: “Study for Dauntless II”,  Archival Ink and Enamel on Panel, 36” x 36” x 2.5”)