Mark Rios, who hails from Spain, is a risk-taker. Since relocating to capital of the UAE, Dubai, a lifestyle destination to watch, his unconventional career path comes with a a 6-figure Instagram following and creative collaborations with countless celebrities and lifestyle brands. Mark aka Mr Dripping’s personal artistic style has some resemblance to Jackson Pollock’s vigorous splats, however, with much more restraint, which has led to elegant works of art, with his specialty of creating it in situ for a particular person.
Welcome to Singapore. What were your initial impressions upon landing in this city state?
It was love at first sight. One of the reasons why I am here in town is for the global premier of Regent’s Taste Studio as part of the ILTM Asia Pacific. The country is so fascinating! Especially how the old buildings blend with the new skyscrapers.
Coming from Spain it is surreal that the city at 1.00 am is still so awake. I love that everything is so clean, and I was also told that it is a very safe city. That makes me very happy because I forget everything everywhere.
What is your biggest source of inspiration in Dubai culturally?
Dubai is a city known for its skyscrapers and giant buildings and that is something that inspired a lot of the artworks I did during my time there. Culturally, Dubai is very different from where I grew up and so I love spending time with Emirati people. There are so few of them in the world and I learn most about their history and culture from them.
What was it like growing up in Spain. How did you get started painting?
In Spain, I had a very humble upbringing with my parents. Since my sister was born when I was 15, I grew up playing with my friends. We didn’t have phones or anything like we do today, we knew where everyone lived, all in the same neighbourhood, so after lunch we would go knock on each other’s doors to go play basketball, video games or watch a movie together.
Both my grandfathers were creative in their own way. From my mother’s side, my grandfather used to paint and sketch, and we have many of his pieces at home still today. And from my father’s side, my grandfather was very much a storyteller and a creative thinker. I learned from him, how to think outside the box, to solve existing things and to build new things too. I have been an artist since I can remember, painting on the walls and sketching on everything that was a surface.
What’s the craziest thing any client has proposed for you to do?
Painting a French bulldog on a private jet. We flew from Marbella to Ibiza and when the jet was up in the air flat, the pilot gave me the green light and there I painted the French bulldog’s portrait. I collaborated with DSquared2 for the New Year’s Eve event in 2021 at the newly opened ME Hotel by Zaha Hadid in Dubai. I did a portrait of the two brothers — they were incredible people and it was a very fun night.
How does your personal sense of style, which is very pop-culture inspired, influence your art?
Unlike my personal style, my art is very minimalistic and beautiful. I like that the two contrast each other and I have gotten the sense that people do not expect to see me as the artist behind those pieces and so it is surprising but also refreshing.
Which are the style icons that you look up to? Are there any fashion pieces you are eyeing and why?
Since I was little I had my own style. I ripped my shirts and customized them. I have been bleaching my hair since I was 8 years old and I also studied fashion design in college. So, I never followed any particular brand throughout the years but a few years ago I discovered Off-white and Yeezy, for example, and those are two brands that I have identified myself with and have come to really love.
What hangs on the walls of your home?
My art. I have a lot of my first artworks hanging on the wall, even though my technique has gotten more refined over the years. It is good to remember the beginning. I also have a lot of sketches. It’s funny because I never show my sketches on social media or anything but that’s how I started with art when I was a kid.
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