Hermes Illana put himself through college by designing, building, and painting custom billboards and signage around his hometown in southern Brazil. While still in college, he developed an interest in photography and had his first exhibit, which focused on Italian immigrants in the region. After graduating, he was awarded a full scholarship from the Japanese government to study landscape architecture in Tokyo, where he spent two years immersed in Japanese culture and aesthetics. After a Master's degree at U.C. Berkeley and a career as a landscape architect, Hermes turned his full attention to sculpture. In 2014, he joined Liberty Arts Sculpture Studio and Foundry, in Durham, NC, where he works with mixed media and co-teaches welding/sculpture classes.