Mauro Oliveira was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil and raised on the outskirts under extreme poverty, with no running water or electricity. He and his six siblings were sent to a military state run orphanage after both parents passed away in their 30’s. He feels that he is living proof that people’s generosity can save lives and make dreams come true.
His passion for the United States and art started at age 9 in the orphanage. An American woman, a good Samaritan, visited the orphanage looking to adopt an orphan and Mauro became close with her. However, she ended up adopting his best friend, as she did not want to separate him from his brothers and sisters. Before she left, she told him crying in broken Portuguese that if he stayed out of trouble and studied hard, he to would make it to the U.S. one day. His first art project, age 10, was to paint and decorate the plain tin piggy- banks, that were given out for free by the banks. He encouraged and supervised the other children to do the same and raised funds for food by selling them.
He did stay out of trouble, studied hard and surmounted every obstacle on his way, dreaming of making it to America one day. He made it to college with straight A’s and won a student exchange program contest sponsored by the Federal University of Uberlandia. He studied Journalism and the Arts and immigrated to the U.S. in 1990.
Mauro has worked in several different art modalities from oil pastels, charcoal sketches to clay sculptures. His greatest influences are Pablo Picasso and the Spanish artist, Joan Miro. His work includes his “I love the USA” trademark created in New York City after he lived through the horror of the September 11th attacks and the months following. “This is my tribute to America, that has given me so much.”
He creates his pieces using special automotive detailing tape creating a pinstriped top featuring several layers of varnish for an immaculate and super glossy finish. A liberal coat of eccentrically glossy varnish gives Mauro's pieces a delightful reflection and a finished look. He is inspired by locations, alot of his geometric pieces are named after specific places that inspired the piece and skylines. They are a labor of love, each piece takes many hours and there is always a personal story behind them. The work is very calculated, it must be planned out and there is little room for error with his technique, which is what truly makes each piece of a kind.
He believes the artist should express their emotions and feelings through art. Each piece should have a beginning, a middle and an end, with an individual outlook and interpretation for each observer. “What I might be really trying to do is represent the complexity of the inner self in a simple clean way using vivid colors.”