Born in Mexico City, Octavio Logo began drawing at an early age, creating his first mural in high school. He focused on classical studies in college while working as a bookbinder, restoring antique books.
Today, he has created murals across Mexico and the United States, and participated in numerous collective expositions in both countries. Logo’s first large individual exposition in Arkansas at the Arts Center of the Ozarks in 2018 was EXODUS, for which he was awarded an Artists 360° grant for 2019.
His new works now include ceramics and clay sculpting, installations, murals and experimental painting. Logo is currently producing a documentary about immigration in the U.S. and works from a studio in south Fayetteville, from which he hopes to inspire the continued transformation and revitalization of the neighborhood culture.
What are the elements that are important to consider when choosing a mural site?
There are three aspects to consider when choosing the site for a mural: location, type of wall and the topic.
The location is important in many ways, from weather considerations to people walking by with foot traffic. The best walls are always those that people can view from different locations in active public areas, walkable streets or public buildings visited consistently such as libraries, hospitals, schools, government buildings, restaurants, malls or big parking lots.
The type of wall will determine the painting techniques. Brick walls are suitable for spray paint, while plaster or concrete walls are good for paintbrushes.
The topic of the mural is the most debated subject for artists, sponsors, cities and institutions, because creating murals isn’t necessarily the same as creating public art. Not all large pieces of outside art are necessarily public art if they have no connection to the community.
What inspires the content of the murals?
I grew up nurtured by Mexican Muralism, created to not only beautify buildings, but to communicate ideas and tell stories about politics, ideologies, religion, national and native history, etc. That’s the kind of content I seek in my own murals and what I like to see in other artists’ work as well. This is public art, where artists communicate to the public through elaborate ideas about meaningful topics. It’s not always pleasing, but expressing what they believe is important.
What role does public art play in the branding of a city? How does public art contribute to the community?
Public art plays an enormous role in a city. Can you imagine Paris without the Eiffel Tower, Rome without Fontana di Trevi, Mexico City without its hundreds of murals, or any major city without its parks crowned by marvelous fountains?
Public art includes murals, sculptures, architecture, landscaping and art installations. A city can create its own icons of identity through great artistic works by commissioning artists to create. There are also artists or groups of artists at more local levels that create and enrich the identity of a city or neighborhood.
It is through this dual dynamic that art reflects the vitality and uniqueness of a city and its inhabitants. Artistic expression reflects not only the personal feelings and ideas of the artist, it is also a reflection of the needs, tastes and collective ideas that can help a community realize its identity.
What materials do you use and how do you ensure the longevity of a mural?
My favorite materials are acrylic polymers; the colors are radiant and full of life, and when protected from UV rays with the right varnishes, it increases their longevity. These paints also have a minimum toxicity and environmental impact. They can be used to create an effect that is dense like oil paint or light like water colors. They can be used with an airbrush, are versatile, fast-drying and relatively low in cost. To ensure that a mural has a long life, it is necessary to prepare the surface before painting and perfectly varnish it after completion.
What´s your step-by-step process for creating a mural?
I can mention four main steps when working on a mural. First is to prepare the wall by applying primer. The second is drawing the outlines of the blueprint. I can do that using a grid or projecting the image already scaled on the wall. Both processes are perfectly fine, but projecting the image on the wall will reduce work time by 90 percent.
The third step is painting. I use the primary colors to mix all the colors I need, plus white. This process is my favorite of all. After the colors are dry, the fourth step is applying varnishes, preferably with an air gun, to protect the finished product.