Camilo Medina’s illustrations are wacky, weird and we love them. They remind us of the 1940’s Walt Disney film Fantasia, surreal, but also a little bit frightening. Camilo is influenced by artists who use “a unique gloopy style”, his words we promise, and his work includes shapes that droop, wave and distort.
His illustrations contain a combination of apparently disparate elements, which form vibrant collages with a grainy retro sheen. “I’m inspired by designs that make me laugh”, the artist tells us, “like bad restaurant menus, truck graphics and bootleg toys”. Camilo is clearly amused by items that are odd or those that are so bad that they become funny. His pieces are full of this creepy strangeness: a walking duck’s mouth with palm trees for eyes, or a sun smoking a flower. Yes, even writing those words in tandem feels weird. “I think my work comes off as surrealistic because of my incapability to make something realistic”, he comments. However, the fact that he struggles to make tight, representational work is to his advantage; Camilo combines abstractness with figurative elements to create bold and psychedelic illustrations. You feel as if you’ve walked into the ultimate trip.
“I like to start with a ridiculously funny idea and work backwards”, Camilo tells us. “Sometimes it’s hard to share progress with clients because most of my work looks incredibly terrible until the very end”. All of his pieces begin by him drawing with permanent marker; he uses bright gradients to create “sugary vibes” and optimism in a world clouded by a dark political climate.
Camilo has always been inspired by music, be it through playing in a band or doing work for Pitchfork magazine. “The idea of making something out of nothing and sharing it with the world is something that I had done with music way before I did it with visual art”, he tells It’s Nice That. “I like when things feel true and real in music; in my art, I like combining visual elements that give me a unique feeling, whether it’s sexual, silly or nostalgic”. Camilo’s images certainly do this; with their wonderful weirdness, they cast an instant spell.