By Rebbecca Pikus
Mario Pikus, Painter & Sculptor, won his first art award at 8 years old in his birthplace of Buenos Aires, Argentina. By his teens he was painting commissioned murals. At age 20, Mario traveled to New York to meet one of the only living Paris-of-the-20s artists — Cubist sculptor Jacques Lipchitz. The young Mario knocked unannounced at Lipchitz’s studio in Hastings-on-the-Hudson, built for him by the Museum of Modern Art. Lipchitz told Mario that he had missed meeting Marc Chagall by one day. Lipchitz believed Mario to be an artistic genius, and that Mario was the reincarnation of Chaim Soutine. Lipchitz became Mario’s lifelong mentor.
In the 1970s & 1980s, while living in loft/studios in Soho and later Tribeca in New York City, Mario became a famous activist in fighting for the legal rights of artists to both live and work in their loft spaces. He was responsible for case law & new legislation signed by Gov. Hugh Carey that protected thousands of artists and their families to remain in their lofts. Mario had numerous exhibitions during these years, including his one man show at Soho’s Cayman Gallery — “Pictures of an Eviction”. During the New York years, Mario became a beloved Hero and a legend to all NYC artists — while also garnering both national & international collectors.
In 1985, Mario & his family moved to Silverlake, Ca. It was here that Mario branched out from painted wood sculptures into a new art form that he innovated — “Harley-ism”. His unique chrome & metal sculptures are created from discarded motorcycle parts and flat rolls of sheet metal; some are raw chrome, others painted in bright, strong colors. Mario does not weld the pieces — they are bolted together to create a perfect balance of weight & form. The final sculptures are abstract versions of horses, musicians, dancers, female nudes & other persona.
In 2002, Mario Pikus moved to Rancho Mirage, Ca, where he continued to paint large, bold, massively colorful paintings — as well as even larger sculptures in his sculpture garden. Recently with the donations of not only discarded motorcycle parts but also airplane parts, Mario has created his new “hybrid” sculptures.
In 2009, Mario was awarded “Best of Show” at Palm Springs Art Museum’s ACE for his sculpture “The New Ride”. In Nov. 2009, Mario was chosen for an installation of his Art pieces for the Dennis Lambert Concert at the Agua Caliente Showroom. Mario also showed at Cabot Museum’s Earthday (for his use of found & recycled metals). Mario had a highly successful one-man show at David Blank Gallery in Palm Desert, Ca in 2011 and a recent exhibition of selected drawings & paintings at the Palm Desert Community Gallery.
In Feb. 2012, Mario’s hybrid sculpture “Palm Springs – Color & Form” was awarded Best of Show by the Palm Springs 13th Annual Juried Art Show. Also in 2012, Mario donated a new sculpture “Clouds in the Desert” to the Agnes Pelton Society’s new Sculpture Garden. In 2013 Mario hosted a Desert Arc Fundraiser with Steve Connelly, “Spirit of the King” as well as “The Wild & Mad Party” tribute to Stanley Kramer in association with the Stanley Kramer Film Festival at his home. In addition, in 2013 Mario was nominated to receive a Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars for “Humanitarian” in 2014.
Mario’s current projects include a 25-ft high Totem Pole sculpture, as well as a donation sculpture to the Palm Springs Air Museum honoring WWI & II pilots. He will also be a featured artist in the 2014 Rancho Mirage Tour of Artists Homes on April 12, 2014 – RM Cultural Week. Mario’s passions are riding his Harley, hosting huge Fundraising Parties at his home & studio, Music, his Marklin model trains, & his new rescue dogs — Shadow & Whitecloud.
Mario Pikus’ art has evolved over the years from Classical to Cubism, Surrealism, Representational Expressionism, & Abstract Expressionism. Mario’s selected paintings & sculptures are currently on exhibition at Creare Fine Art Gallery, 73255 El Paseo, Palm Desert, Ca (760) 534-5888.
NOTE: FRIDAY, JANUARY 17, 2014 – 6:00PM-9:00PM — MARIO PIKUS WILL BE THE FEATURED ARTIST OF THE MONTH AT CREARE FINE ART GALLERY, 73255 El Paseo (& Sage), Palm Desert, Ca