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Ersatz Americana: Art by Art Carrillo

A painted scene of several toys and objects on a tableASSIMILATION, acrylic on canvas

Los Angeles-born artist Art Carrillo uses acrylic paint to render scenes of ersatz Americana, depicting pop-cultural objects and toys in photorealistic dioramas. The artist draws on an education in graphic design, and influences from 20th century figure painters.

A painting of an arrangement of objects on a tableUNTITLED, acrylic on canvas


I’m really impressed by the artwork on view on Art’s portfolio website. At first glance, it’s easy to mistake these small paintings for photographs. The subject matter, and Art’s use of action figures, dolls, and various commercial detritus to portray complex sociopolitical ideas creates an interesting tension between playfulness and protest in each work. The use of a mostly uniform, red-curtain backdrop enforces a sense of melodrama while creating cohesion between the paintings.

A screen capture of Art Carrillo's art websiteThe front page of Art's website,


Art has also put his artistic skills to good use on other commercial projects, such as a 2009 chapel restoration in Los Angeles. It’s interesting to see the artist’s talents at work in a restorative capacity, and the way he’s able to work with the original style of the chapel’s décor to renew the interior paintings.

A painting of some toys and pills on a colored blanketHOMAGE TO EDWARD ROYBAL Y LA CLINICA DE COLORES, acrylic on canvas

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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