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Thalo loves to promote artists and each month, we spotlight a member of our community!

This month we are pleased to have Marco Aguilar as the thalo Spotlight Artist.

THALO: Can you give an "elevator pitch" of your work? 

MARCO AGUILAR: I'm primarily a painter. I specialize in dramatic scenic artwork (I call them Dreamscapes), and wildlife (particularly Marine life). I also enjoy painting realistic still life paintings.

T: Is there a common theme throughout your work? Is there something you want your artwork to convey to people who see it?

MA: I focus a lot on the elements: light, water, rocks, trees, glass and metal (in still life paintings). I love to see if I can recreate the textures of the elements in paint. My scenic artwork is meant to provide the viewer with a sense of escapism, the places where we want to be. My wildlife imagery focuses on the beauty of the animals and their environment.

Marco Aguilar, Ocean painting with bright colors, turtle in the ocean, sunset on the water

“Coming Home”, acrylic, 30x24

T: Which artists do you feel have influenced your art the most?

MA: I am most influenced by The Hudson River School artists. I love the dramatic lighting and mood of their work. Maxfield Parrish is another huge influence in my scenery. The movie "What Dreams May Come" was a huge influence in developing the feel of my work. As far as contemporary artists, Dale Terbush got me painting again. I had stopped to focus on being an actor in Los Angeles.

T: Imagine you got to design your perfect Gallery Show. Tell us what it is!

MA: One word: Nature. I would love a gallery show to be an experience, maybe have a big tree in the center and have different areas radiating from that tree. For example, one area would take us under the sea with shafts of light illuminating the area like they do in the coral gardens. I have a theatrical background, so I would love the art show to be an entire extrasensory experience.

underwater painting with dolphin, under the sea, acrylic ocean painting, marco aguilar

"Hidden Splendor”, 20” x 24”, acrylic

T: Out of all of your creations (or bodies of work) which one did/do you find the most cathartic in creating?

MA: My ‘Splash of Color’ series has truly provided me with the most growth. I am primarily a representational artist, and this really allowed me to step out of the box. It allowed me to experiment with texture and vibrant color but still incorporating my love of the elements and how they react. I studied water movement for a year while creating that series.

T: How has your work (or technique) changed over time?

MA: I think I've become more observant over time. I always tell my students to "paint what you see, not what you think you see. I mean truly LOOK at it." But I think I've also become more organic as an artist. Sometimes I'll just put brush to canvas with no plan and just accept what comes out of the end of it. It's very freeing.


Honu’s Dance”, 24” x 30”, acrylic

T: How do you promote yourself and your art?

MA: Social media is huge. I use Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. I belong to a number of online art communities like Fine Art America. I also have my own website. I'm also represented by galleries, and most recently I signed with a licensing agency and they are now promoting my work on a global level.

T: What project are you working on currently? What are you most looking forward to with your work this year?

MA: I recently signed with a licensing agent and I'm creating undersea images for the puzzle market. I am also creating a new Dreamscape series for a calendar.  This agent is getting me lots of exposure, but it comes with lots of work. I will be very busy creating this year, and hopefully you will soon see Marco artwork in a store near you.

underwater painting with jellyfish, jelly fish painting, dancing jellyfish“Drifting Through my Open Mind”, acrylic, 48x24

T: What is your favorite medium to work with, or what medium brings you the most satisfaction to use? Are there any mediums that you don't currently use that you'd like to explore?

MA: I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. However, at age 13, I discovered acrylic paint and have been hooked ever since. It is my favorite medium and I have spent 20 years learning new techniques and refining my style. I'm always learning. I learn from each painting and it's very exciting.  Lately, I've been wanting to experiment with sculpting.  I've never done it, and it's been calling.

T: What would you consider to be your "biggest achievement" with your work thus far?

MA: Oh my gosh, so much has happened to me lately. Being accepted into the Ocean Artists Society was huge. My work has been featured in several publications now by North Light Books, and that is exciting. I just found out that my sea turtle painting, 'Honu's Dance', is being featured in a new book coming out called ‘Art Journeys: A Collection of Contemporary Masterpieces’.

“Heaven’s Light”, 24” x 20”, acrylic

T: What was your first work of art that you were proud of? Where is it now?

MA: I think my first acrylic painting, when I was 13, sticks out as a piece I was particularly proud of.  I had never painted before and it turned out amazingly well. All of my art teachers were like "WOW! That's Amazing!"  I took to the medium like a duck to water, and it was the moment I discovered my direction as an artist. Sadly, I have no idea where it is now.

T: Do you take commissions? Why or why not?

MA: Yes, I do. I've done several, but they can be very challenging because you are trying to second guess what someone will like. The moment when you reveal the finished painting to the client is so intense.  My favorite clients have been the ones who just love my style, give me just a basic guideline and then tell me to go have fun. Some of my best paintings have been commissioned pieces.

T: What do you do when you aren't working on artwork? What are some of your hobbies/passions other than art-making?

MA: Art is oxygen to me.  I am also an actor, director, choreographer and set designer for the theatre. If I'm not painting or drawing, I'm in rehearsals for the next stage production. I am the busiest person I know.  I am trained actor, director and dancer and I am the President of a repertory theatre company in California. Art, in all its forms, is my life. I eat, sleep and breathe art.

T: Is there something that you would like to share with us that we have not covered, that pertains to you and your work?

MA: The main focus of my work is to bring awareness of the beauty and majesty of nature. I love the power of waves crashing on rocks or a glorious sunset sky. I'm not one of those artists that paints dolphins trapped in fishing nets. There's enough ugly in this world. Instead I focus on the glory of The Earth and it’s natural beauty. For example, I choose to paint my sea life free and happy. Hopefully my artwork will stir emotions in the viewer, filling them with appreciation of nature, and a desire for conservation.

T: Check out Marco Aguilar's profile on thalo to read more!

More of Marco's work can be seen at:


Click here for Marco Aguliar's facebook page

Check him out on instagram: @artisticmarco

Find him on Twitter: @marcozart

See more of his work at Fine Art America