Mario painted his first banner in 1965 during the psychedelic color craze and explosion of poster fever. Over the past fifty years he has continued to paint banners for marches, celebrations, rallies, protests, and other socio-political events, often hosting spontaneous banner-painting parties the night before an event.
“The walls don’t scare me anymore,” Mario said in a student Oral History Project interview at King-Chavez Prep Academy in 2013. Mario initiated his mission of socially conscious neighborhood colorization in 1971 during the establishment of Chicano Park, at the peak of the Chicano Movement in San Diego. Since then, Mario has contributed more than one hundred murals around the world, many of which still stand.
As a toddler, Mario was already learning how to paint from his father. Guillermo Acevedo had a bustling arts studio in Lima, and he brought Mario to work with him daily, teaching him perspective, shading, how to mix colors, and eventually how to operate a successful business. Mario’s canvas and panel works include portraits, socio-political/historical commentary, eco-healing art, and cosmic surrealism. He was most recently featured at the Oceanside Museum of Art “100 Artists, 100 Years” exhibit, and continues to paint, curate, collaborate, and teach.
In the 1970s, Mario was inspired by the popular medium of silkscreening. For him, posters were another way of reaching the People to communicate social messages. His posters continue to be popular, and in 2016 the Library of Congress contacted Mario to acquire the original sketches for two official Chicano Park Anniversary posters – “Veinte Años” and “Laura.” The Library is in the process of purchasing an additional seventeen original works on paper for their permanent collection.