"I try to capture moments from everyday life, which may seem typical of our land, and yet very few people stop and see that they actually possess an infinite beauty."
"My full name is Mario Sergio Avilés Hernández, and my artistic name is Savilés. I grew up in Guatemala City with my mother, and I've been told that my grandfather, who I never met, was a sculptor and that some of his pieces are in El Salvador, but I don't really know where.
"I've loved to paint and draw ever since I was a kid – in fact my earliest memories are of me drawing. I am a creative and entrepreneurial person, and I consider my art to be my greatest gift. To me, art is a way of capturing feelings and sceneries and most of all, the essence of those who I portray in my compositions. I love to depict the richness of Guatemalan culture, the beauty and simplicity of its people. We are a very special people, so being able to capture those moments that reflect the uniqueness of my homeland is something that makes me very happy.
"When I was a little boy I learned to paint on my own, there wasn't anyone around that could teach me. But when I was 13 years old I got accepted to Guatemala's National School of Fine Arts, which at the time was directed by Max Saravia Gual. I went at night, because I was at school during the day, and I remember my art teacher constantly telling me to paint my own compositions – she couldn't believe that I was painting on my own!
"It's difficult being an artist in Guatemala. There was a time, not so long ago, when people didn't appreciate local art. They just wanted whatever came from abroad. This limited the art market, which already is difficult for artists. Those trends have changed now, but the problems persist. People do value national art, but they can't afford it, which makes it difficult for us artists to provide for our families.
"I dream with being able to show the world the beauty of Guatemala's culture. I love to paint and share my country's stories, the people, and the colors of our traditional costumes, our folk art, customs and traditions. I try to capture moments from everyday life, which may seem typical of our land, and yet very few people stop and see that they possess an infinite beauty. The simplicity of those scenes is what makes our culture so beautiful – it enriches our culture.
"My daughter Valeria is an artist in her own right and now she is featured in Novica too. I always encourage her to follow her own path so she doesn't feel obliged to follow mine. It's important for me that she develop her own style, and for that an artist needs to experiment continuously and learn from experience. I enjoy working alongside her, and guide her, but I never intervene in her decisions or stray her away from her own path. We both enjoy this since we share the same passion for art.
"I would like you to know that my compositions are original works of art that share the essence of Guatemala. In that sense, when you acquire one, you gain a piece of Guatemala."
Mario Sergio has taken part in several exhibitions in Guatemala, and his work has been distinguished with different awards including 1st place by the Comité Nacional Preparatorio del Festival Nacional de Juventud y Estudiantes de Guatemala for Spontaneous Drawing and 1st place for Artistic Advertising given by the Central American Institute of Marketing and Advertising.