Mário is born in Lisbon, Portugal, and grows up in Alcácer do Sal in Portugal, a small town outside of Lisbon with a population of 13,000. He is the only child to Hermína and José Cordeiro. Mário lives in a house with all white walls and no pictures or decorations hanging. Hermina refuses to hang photos or paintings to avoid putting holes in the walls. She spends much of her time doing the housework as a stay-at-home mother, in her free time sewing and maintaining the front flower garden year-round.
1981 - 1984
As an only child, Mário spends much of his time alone. He entertains himself by building small structures, houses, garages, and offices out of twigs, leaves, and rocks found around his neighborhood. The road where his home sits is one of the first to be developed into a modern street. Mário enjoys the construction, using leftover construction materials to build his small urban cityscapes.
Mário is the youngest child in his part of town, and with very few toys, there are limited options of entertainment. He climbs trees and explores the abandoned castle near his home. He amuses himself by sneaking into the castle and moving the relics and stones around to confuse the archaeologists working there.
His greatest source of entertainment is his imagination.
In this time, Hermína experiences a serious depression that lasts for four years. Jose spends much of his time managing the finances at a tomato juice factory and at other side jobs on weekends.
When he turns 10, Mário fights with his mother over putting a poster up in his room. As he grows, he learns to be independent, bringing himself to school.
When he turns fifteen, Mário begins to work part time at his father’s tomato juice factory, doing quality control on the tomatoes. His father agrees to help support him in the future only if he commits to working hard at whatever he does.
Mário moves out of his family home to begin pursuing his next steps in education in Evora, Portugal. He rents rooms and basements in houses across town. He is made aware that not all houses are entirely white and pictureless as he explores the homes and livelihoods of others. He considers the ways in which a space reflects aspects of the people occupying it.
In the fall, he takes his first art class from Antonio Coxo, who introduces him to art, its history, and its context in the modern world. Coxo presents his class with provocative and radical discussions outside of the conservative norms of Portugal at the time. They spend class time talking about what’s happening in the news and exploring the passion of painting. Coxo teaches Mário to ask questions.
Mário visits the capital, Lisbon, to expose himself to contemporary art. The city museums and art galleries open his eyes to the possibilities of modern artistic expression and experimentation. He encounters the controversial modern shopping center Amoreiras, designed by international architect Tómas Taveira utilizing scale and newer materials. The immensity of scale leaves a lasting impression on Mário.
In 1994, Mário applies for the first time to the Faculdade de Belas Artes de Lisboa and is rejected. He instead attends the Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema, where he studies set design. While studying, Mário commits himself to thoroughly exploring the cinematic and theatrical world, spending his nights alone at the Cinemateca Portuguesa, watching everything from avant-garde films to old classics to foreign films from around the world, and at the Lisbon theatres.
It is the beginning of the European Union, and Mário joins his generation in taking advantage of the travel benefits of newly opened borders. Meanwhile, he exposes himself to texts by Shakespeare, Molière, Voltaire, Aristotle, and portuguese scholars Fernando Pessoa, Eça de Queiróz, and Camões.
In classes, Mário begins to experiment with new materials like polystyrene and resins, learning new and unconventional set design techniques and investigating the way different textures interact with the lighting of a given set. He gets opportunities to use space to bring to life the inner workings of theatrical characters and his artistic practice becomes very analytical in this sense. He branches out into the cinema department as well as the theatre department. He begins to more actively collaborate with other creatives in the performances and short films of his fellow students.
1998 - 1999
By the time Mário graduates from the College of Theater and Cinema in 1998, he has designed the sets for ten independent productions as well as the costumes and occasional puppetry for a number of productions.
During this time, Mário struggles with his sexuality. Even in the relatively progressive environment of collegiate study and surrounded by artists, Mário hides his homosexuality. In this time, he views his sexuality as entirely separate from his personality and experiences fear at the thought of other people viewing both parts of himself as one.
Upon his graduation, Mário is accepted to study sculpture at the Faculdade de Belas Artes de lisboa.
In the fall of 1998, Mário is invited to design a concept vehicle for a parade exhibit at the Expo 98. He shows the piece Labirintico, a vehicle that actors could interact within the exhibition, which garners attention for him in the European art scene.
Mário spends two years studying sculpture at the Faculdade. He explores concepts of traditional sculpture, but feels limited by the sculpture department’s conservativism.
He begins to exhibit his work in professional spheres, participating in the art scene, to the annoyance of some of his professors.
In 1999, Mário’s father, Jose, is diagnosed with cancer.
In the late summer, Mário takes a month long trip to New York with his friend Pedro Paiva from his painting class. He spends his time wandering the streets and taking in the art that he had previously only seen in books. He visits exhibits on Carl Andre, Donald Judd, and Andy Warhol, becoming deeply affected by their manipulation of space and their impactful pieces. He makes note of the gap between the intellectualization of these famous artists and the actual experience of their art in person.
He once again finds himself enraptured by the immensity of the architecture, reminded of both his interest in the modern shopping center of Lisbon and his childhood play times spent assembling miniature cities.
2001 - 2002
Mário switches into the painting department in order to experiment further with spacial work. His art during this time is defined by minimalist installations following in the footsteps of Richard Serra and an simplicity in his materials. He uses very few colors, working mostly with greys, and uses a variety of media from graphite powder and olive oil to wax and found objects. He begins to experiment with fabric as it is most accessible to him through his mother and her sewing supplies. He excels at drawing but struggles in courses of traditional methods of painting and sculpting.
Mário begins to explore narratives of the human experience in his art, speaking to sexual tension, romantic love, and internal emotions. He utilizes photography alongside sculpture as he explores emotional journeys. This progression is greatly influenced by his father’s battle with cancer. Much of Mário’s art begins to investigate the emotional experience more seriously.
While attending school and operating as a fine artist, Mário works a side job as an art consultant for national economic newspaper Semanário Económico, advising on what art exhibits to attend and artists to invest in. The job and its financial approach to artistic creation drains his energy.
In his final year of studies, Mário takes an exchange residency at the University of Hertfordshire starting in January. While there, in February, his father passes away after a three-year battle with cancer.
When Mário returns to London after his father’s funeral, he finishes his graphite and olive oil series Landscape Collection and begins to work on his light installation Mars, focusing on celestial and large scale works depicting larger-than-life visuals.
In the Fall, Mário begins his first relationship with pianist, Joao Lima Duque, who introduces to him the concept of newness in art. Mário is at first incredulous that there are new things to be done with music that was written hundreds of years ago, but they explore together the ways to bring experimentation to artistic conventions.
After several months of keeping his relationship somewhat secretive, Mário comes out as a gay man at the age of 27. While he does not come out to his parents for fear of their conservative community, he begins to fully accept his sexuality in a more public sense.
At his first large scale group exhibition at the Antecip Arte, Mário sells out his entire sketch collection and backlog of art within the first half hour. It represents a turning point in his career where Mário begins to experience success as an artist in the Portuguese fine art scene.
Mário graduates with a degree in Fine Art Painting.
In the fall of 2004 Mário comes out to his mother. He realizes that he wants her to hear this information from him once he realizes that family friends had seen him spending time with Joao romantically. Hermina refuses to speak to him for a month, but he returns home to help her deal with his father’s estate after his death.
Mário graduates and then is awarded a second residency in England at the University of Hertfordshire as the Leonardo Da Vinci Grant Recipient. His relationship with Joao becomes one of long distance.
It is then that Mário experiences a turning point in his artistic journey. Researching at the university library, Mário comes across the International Colour Authority catalogue of 2004. This encounter spurs a new direction in artistic creation, defining his approach to color as entirely unconventional. From this moment on, Mário utilizes color in order to speak to cultural and societal applications of meaning and the changing tastes of color according to a given time. He begins using color forecasts, including those made by the International Colour Authority, in order to choose the palettes of his works, juxtaposing modern chromatic attitudes with different times, ideas, cultures, and landscapes. He begins to more fully acknowledge the context of color. It brings him new confidence in working chromatically.
2006 - 2008
Mário pursues an MFA at Chelsea College of Art and Design in London. He studies through scholarships from the Gulbenkian Foundation and the Carmona and Costa Foundation. He works a part-time job at a café to support himself.
Mário and Joao purchase a home together in April of 2007 in London.
In this time, Mário creates an extensive series of ink drawings of landscapes, overlaying architectural elements such as homes and buildings with different colors from various color forecasts. He begins to seriously evaluate the way color and human chromatic decisions integrate with the natural world.
2009 - 2011
Mário gets in touch with Bill Benjamin, director of the International Colour Authority. They begin a working relationship that develops Mário’s new approach to color more clearly. He gains momentum in producing artworks using color forecasts and expands his art to more aggressively address design. He begins his series Assault, a performative exploration of color within different esteemed fine arts institutions, creating a conversation between his broad study of color and the canonical artworks that have defined humankind's engagement with color.
In 2009, he meets curator and artist Anthony Gross and begins to participate in the London alternative art scene. Gross invites him to join in his effort to build the artist community and gallery The Old Police Station. Mário accepts and works as a manager, curator, and organizer, bringing to life the artistic vision of creative collaboration on a large scale. Mário begins collaborating with artists and curating in art festivals such as Deptford X.
He achieves his MFA the summer of 2011.
Mário is commissioned by the London Olympic and Paralympic Committee to produce art for the Press Media Centre of the Olympics.
He also is commissioned by the Cape Farewell Foundation to create a film capturing the aesthetic of the London Canals. After the commission, the Cape Farewell Foundation offers him a residency where he collaborates with a team of different creatives in order to interpret the natural landscape of the Isle of Mull.
While he works on these commissions, Mário begins his PhD program researching color theory and color trends in fine arts.
A few months away from their ten year anniversary, Mário and Joao end their relationship. This spurs years of self-reflection and existential crises. Mário consults a string of experts in business, psychology, and life coaching in order to more precisely pursue his artistic intentions and to develop spiritually. He works closely with life coach Tony Selimi. His art begins to explore this new active investigation of the self.
He also continues to expand on his series Assault, which grows to be a four-year collaboration with a musician, several different art consultants, and prestigious museums and concert halls across Europe.
Mário meets Travis Becker while researching for his PhD, and they develop a romantic relationship.
2015 - Present
Mário moves to San Francisco, California. He immediately feels not only comfortable but energized and inspired, having spent his life striving to experience difference and diversity. Since moving to the states, he has traveled throughout California and across North America, continuing to expose himself to new ways of life.
In 2015, Oakland art nonprofit the Crucible invites Mário to curate for their annual gallery exhibition that funds the Crucible’s art education programs for the community. They invite him back to curate for three consecutive years, allowing him to bring his expertise as an artist to bring more creative opportunities into the community.
Mário marries Travis in 2016.
Mário currently operates his own studio and continues his research into color. His art is at a stage of much more ambitious investigations of color, space, and societal engagement with both. He collaborates with model makers, designers, art assistants, and writers in order to bring his visions to life.