Mauricio Buitrago was born in Cali, Colombia on July 30, 1969. In school he developed his passion for cartooning at an early age. Soon after graduating from high school, he discovered his ability to bring to life his drawings through handcrafting cardboard and foam; this led him to design window displays for the local retail stores. Before long, he became well known and was engaged in several projects working on props for important events throughout the city. During that same period he was contacted by an editorial company from Miami, Florida, which needed cartoons and illustrations for their monthly publication, this was the platform for the beginning of a career in the U.S.
In 1991, Buitrago moved to Florida to pursue his career in Graphic Design. Still freelancing, he enrolled in Commercial Art at the Art Institute of Ft. Lauderdale. He soon realized he was more interested in computer design and animation, therefore dropped out after 6 months. In 1993, he received a scholarship for Computer Arts at The International Fine Arts College, in Miami.
He went on to start his own screen-printing business in 1996 where he applied his computer design skills. Three years later, after selling his shop, Buitrago was offered to return to the editorial industry, becoming Creative Director for several publications in the Hispanic and American markets where he currently serves.
In 2005, his graphic experience and inspiration from pop artists like, Andy Warhol, Keith Haring, Chuck Close and many others, led Buitrago to start a project that combines acrylic painting, wood crafting, and digital imagery into his works of art. He uses his technique to capture celebrities, animated characters and iconic figures as well as abstract compositions.
Buitrago also creates commissioned artworks for private clients.
His first exhibition, of these recent works of art, was held in Miami during the 2008 Art Basel Week.
The process starts from digitally decomposing sketches or photographs into pixelated grids. He assigns a color and a code to each digital pixel, visually translates each color from digital to acrylic paints and transfers to thousands of symmetrical wood pieces. Each piece is hand painted individually then neatly assembled in a elaborate woodworking process. The results are fascinating, when viewed up close, you see a modern display of colored objects but as you question its form, your eyes and mind develop the need for distance between you and the piece, making a distinct image appear.