Sebastian Cestaro is an Argentinian illustrator and art director whose imaginative characters come in all kinds of (surreal) shapes and sizes. Mesmerised by the infinite possibilities of illustration, Sebastian was drawn to the craft from a young age. “I was a big fan of Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry and other cartoons of that style. They definitely left their mark on me. I think it was around that time I started to admire illustration as an art form,” Sebastian tells It’s Nice That. His drawings may have been inspired by children’s cartoons, but the result is a sophisticated, thought-provoking compendium of shapes, colours and unusual dimensions.
Big, round eyes are a recurring motif throughout Sebastian’s illustrations and lend the multi-coloured shapes distinct personalities. A variety of happy, sad, curious and puzzled colourful configurations look out of his animated worlds. “My characters can be anything. Sometimes they are robots and other times they are carpets, circles or even staircases. I use a lot of eyes because I find that they bring my illustrations to life. My characters like to look around. They are attentive,” Sebastian explains. A sense of surveillance infiltrates his work. Some drawings are made up of large looming eyeballs that watch over the smaller technicolour characters, while other illustrations contain hidden eyes that get lost in the busy scenes. The attentive gazes give these shapes individual identities and evoke a sense of interaction between the characters.
This interplay between Sebastian’s illustrated figures has become increasingly central to the artist’s projects. “I started thinking about how I could make my work more powerful. I began playing around with the layout when I saw my drawings side-by-side. That’s when I started joining them into groups of four. I felt that displaying my drawings in this way would be the best way to tell a different story from what I had been doing,” Sebastian says. This shift transformed his work from a series of singular stories into a tapestry of imaginary universes tied together by an overarching narrative.
Sebastian’s intricate, eye-popping compositions are, surprisingly, hardly ever planned. “Most of the time I sit down to create something without having a clear idea of what I’m going to do. It is only once I start, that ideas come to me. When it feels right, I let it rest. By gaining some distance from my work, I can see more clearly if it’s necessary to add or take away things.” Sebastian’s creativity is spontaneous and the fact his engaging and elaborate worlds are the result of unplanned sketching makes his creations all the more impressive.