Ersatz Americana: Art by Art Carrillo
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.
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.
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.