M-Lon is an artist with many strings to his bow.
First an accomplished architect in Venezuela, now a passionate, full-time artist in Sydney, Australia.
He creates murals, illustrations, paintings, toys, video games and concept art for TV. All with an impressive range of materials that includes acrylic, charcoal, spray paint, ink and digital media.
His style is both figurative and conceptual; offering a bold critique of society.
Much of his work concerns the protests in Venezuela; condemning the violence, longing for peace, mourning the destruction of his country. Other works consider mankind’s relationship with nature, with technology, with ourselves.
M-Lon uplifts these heavy themes with a punchy, graphic style. His sketchy lines, rounded figures and bold colours highlight important messages with a beautiful aesthetic.
However, some of these messages are harder to decipher than others.
Almost all M-Lon’s artworks contain numbers. No explanation is given for these digits; they just appear, like stamps or barcodes, branded across his work.
We recently caught up with M-Lon to learn a little more about his journey from architecture to art, and to see if we could finally discover the truth behind the mysterious numbers…
What made you turn from Architecture to Art?
Well, first I started painting to relieve my daily routine from the perfection and precision that a career such as architecture requires.
So, for about 8 years I came home, after working in my architecture studio, to paint all that I had in my head. I kept doing that until suddenly I realised that my paintings were paying my bills but I still had the stress of my career.
So before moving to Sydney in 2012, I decided to stop architecture for a while so I could paint full time.
Now after 4 years in Sydney working in Art full time, I find myself needing to go back to my original practice. It’s been great to find myself creating art (through murals or installations) on elements that will affect the space. Two birds, one stone.
I understand that art is a very difficult career to survive financially from (especially if you are a newcomer in a new country) and even more importantly, in my personal case, I definitely don’t create my best when I need it for paying the bills.
Art should come from the need to express something and not because you need the money.
Where do you find your inspiration?
In people. In how we behave inside (and outside) a community and society. How alike we are from animals. How we interact with the environment. And how everything we do, impacts not only our immediate context but also future generations.
Also, movies and music. Haha, how shallow! But my brain disconnects from reality whilst watching a movie or listening, then I draw.
So, what are you working on at the moment?
Well, don’t laugh, but right now I’m working on concept art for a Netflix TV animation, creating art for a video game, designing inclusive playgrounds (as architecture / art installation that can be used by anyone), designing a mural in an office with a mate who designs furniture with recycled wood, and last, but not least, designing a cafe in a Westfield mall.
All this while running B-SIDE Creative Space along with my business partners – www.bsidecreativespace.com
With so many things going on, which pieces do you most enjoy creating?
Those where I mix art and architecture.
Painting murals… I love when I finish a mural, step back and watch how a small drawing on paper now makes as much sense as in a mural, but reaches way more people, thus it creates way more impact.
What role do you see for yourself, as an artist, in society?
As someone who creates awareness. Who makes people think.
Can you tell us what the numbers in your artworks mean?
Haha, sorry, they all mean something to me. I love how sometimes viewers find their own meaning.
But they are the secret recipe. The secret of the chef.
So, what advice would you give to aspiring young artists?
Wow, don’t give up! And try to find some activity that helps pay the bills so you can create art without the constant need of money. Because there will always be time to create art. Even five minutes before going to sleep, having lunch, or while riding the bus. Or even while watching a movie.
For more information about M-Lon and his current projects, follow @mlon on Instagram or Twitter.
B-SIDE Creative Space: www.m-lon.com.au/