With a background in fine art, it’s no wonder that Fernando Mastrangelo’s stylistic designs have garnered serious praise from industry peers and clients alike. It is with an eye toward nature—one that was inspired by his time growing up in Mexico and Argentina—that Mastrangelo’s pieces come alive. And while the designer has always been artistically inclined, it’s in sculpture that he truly finds his groove. Combining his love of nature and art, Mastrangelo creates covetable works that bring to mind the Latin American landscapes of his past. Early on in his artistic career, Mastrangelo became intrigued with granular materials—such as sugar, corn and sand—that speak to history and experience. These materials continue to inform his work today. Through his studio, FM/S, Mastrangelo explore numerous art forms, including painting, sculpture, furniture design, and architectural and interior design. Here, he talks about his time working with Matthew Barney and the experiences that have led to his rough-yet-refined aesthetic.
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What did you do prior to founding FM/S?
I worked for Matthew Barney from 2004-05, and had my first solo in 2006. Since then I’ve been working as a full-time artist and I found FM/S as an expansion into sculptural furniture around 2014.
How did that experience tie in or influence your founding FM/S?
Matthew ran a pretty large studio, being able to see how they operated has helped me makes certain decisions and understand the pressures of running a larger operation.
Describe your design aesthetic…
Form, content and materials are the core of FM/S. How do these three aspects work together to inform your work?
When you start making something, it has to have meaning, which then leads you to how the thing should look, and lastly you find a material that describes the meaning and the form, and you have a harmony. Those three are always working together in my work.
You have worked with everything from wood and granules (such as sugar) and powders (such as human ash) to paint. What are some of your favorite materials, and what do you like most about them?
Right now I’m exploring sand and powdered glass. Both are expansive materials, and I keep feeling drawn to what they can accomplish conceptually and visually.
What drives your passion for material exploration?
What is it about sculpture that captured your imagination and made you want to pursue a career in the creative sphere?
Sculpture was the hardest of all the mediums in my opinion, plus it could be a lot more than just objects.
From what/where do you draw your inspiration?
Most often these days, I find inspiration from escaping the city into nature. I’m on a mission to see the most exotic landscapes in the world.
Are there any new places in the world that you’re looking to explore in order to find further inspiration?
Iceland is next!
How do you see your studio expanding in the future?
We’re starting to create sculptural interiors, architectural spaces and more large scale installations. I love this direction; I’d like to take the language of the furniture and turn it into three-dimensional spaces. I’ve also started FM/S Media , a company where we create content about art and design and give it away online. This sector of the studio is evolving quickly and we’re producing and distributing content through out many different platforms including YouTube, IGTV, Podcast, and Instagram.
What would be a dream project for you?
A private residence where a client gives me full reign from start to finish. It would have to be someone who really trusts my work and vision, and is willing to let us be fully creative.
I’d love to build homes as sculptures, as limited-edition collector items that are commissioned and then lived in or sold.
How often do you create new pieces? What are you currently working on?
I’m always making new pieces; there’s never a moment that new things aren’t being made. I’m working on a big sculptural interiors project that will be revealed in early 2019.
Do you have a favorite piece that you have created? What can you tell us about it?
“Flood” mirror is one of my favorite pieces, and it’s probably that one because I recently made it. I often love the newest pieces we’re making.
How does your team of artisans help to bring your ideas to material form?
We have built an incredible team and we all lean on each other for everything. The team is becoming a well-oiled machine, and it’s just from practice. It’s been tough to get to this point, but it’s been through idea meritocracy.
What is your favorite part of the creative process and why?
Coming up with ideas by far. I was in the studio for so many years; it’s nice to be able to balance the ideas and growth of the studio, while still getting into the shop as much as possible.
What do you enjoy in your free time?
Looking at art, getting out of the city, hanging out with the people I love.
If you weren’t an artist, what career do you think you’d be in?
What design has recently blown you away (could be a museum, hotel, etc)?
The Yves Saint Laurent in Marrakech.
Words to live by …
Talking resolves everything in art and in life.