Ernesto Artillo


Fashion and its imagery have developed into a world in constant evolution- — a universe of contrasting aesthetics and competing styles. Often over-saturated with not always brilliant pictures, it has now reached an era when there is too much of the same and too little thought behind each figure. The boundaries of art are blurring and it is becoming increasingly difficult to skim through the materials constantly produced to find valuable pictures with lasting power.

A bright new talent has recently surfaced, whose style is a fresh outlook on the art and fashion editorial media. Hailing from Madrid, Spain, Ernesto Artillo is a fashion photographer turned graphic designer (while also doing some fashion styling on the side), but what caught the industry and the web’s attention as of late are his magnificent collages.

His collection of poetic compositions are on his website alongside some of his photographic work. They are mysterious works of art and at times puzzling combinations of anatomy and nature, art and geometry, forming a magical world where nostalgia meets sensuality, delivered in an always-subdued palette. Each image reads like a personal reflection on shape and color, seemingly existing just for aesthetic pleasure, but upon closer inspection, these images communicate deeply with its audience and engage with the viewer’s eye.

This use of contrasting photographic imagery to create stunning pictures is reminiscent of contemporaries such as Deutsche Börse winner John Stezaker or Dallas-based English artist Richard Patterson, whose celebrated work includes collaged combinations of diverse icons. Artillo, however, declares that his main influences come from Renaissance paintings, from modern artists such as Matisse and Picasso, and from the imagery of Spanish folklore, but he also draws inspiration from his own life and feelings of love and
familiar tenderness.

His most eye-catching work to date, and one of the artist’s favorites is piel (the Spanish word for skin): a man’s anatomy interlocked with the mauve, yellow, and blue petals of a flower creating an abstract but powerful discourse between
human and nature.

One of his latest series, Mom Cuture, features scraps of his beautifully photogenic mother glued against various looks from the recent Christian Dior Prêt-à-Porter and Haute Couture collections (the French fashion house’s creative director, Raf Simons, being his current favorite on the international fashion panorama). The simplicity of this clever juxtaposition confirms Artillo’s aesthetic genius and gives a promise of more, grander visual feasts to come.

Text by Rosa Bertoli