A part-time resident of the Questa area, Mario was born into a multi-racial family and grew up in Denver, CO with time spent in New Mexico and much artistic encouragement from his artist-teacher mother. His art instruction began at the age of four. The first instruction his mother made was to page through art history books and choose artists whose style he liked. He opened the book to a section on the diversity of art and color expression. The two artists that filled the page were Piet Mondrian and Vincent Van Gogh. Mario has been working out how to paint like both of them for many years. His first abstract acrylic painting was on primed canvas when he was eight years old.
High school saw Mario winning a state-wide award judged in five diverse mediums of expression. His work was exhibited at the Denver Art Museum. Mario began college at the University of Colorado in Aurora, CO. Though after two years, he decided to return to New Mexico.
Mario continued his arts education on his own, and was accepted into the Stable Art Gallery in downtown Taos after only one year. He was only one of four new artists to be chosen at that time for this well-known gallery. His initial juried art show there was the beginning of a professional art career, one with additional shows both national and international. This burst of creativity lasted for fifteen years.
Mario temporarily turned away from his exceptionally-productive artistic focus to follow a very different dream of opening a martial arts school and completing his certification in therapeutic bodywork. He never entirely stopped painting, even if most works were only in his imagination.