*By Devon Tincknell
Transforming pop culture deities like Marilyn Monroe and Princess Diana into hyper-current hipsters, Chilean illustrator Fab Ciraolo’s work blends realistic portraiture and indie rock name dropping into a series of pastel-hued pastiches. Though Ciraolo grew up in Santiago, and lives there still, his illustrations are pulled from a world where the archetypes of vintage Americana rep international dance pop acts as varied as CSS, Vampire Weekend, and Justice. More than a derivative hodgepodge of cool bands and familiar faces however, Ciraolo possesses a visual aesthetic all his own.
“Doing what I do gives me the freedom to say what I want and how I want. I can express myself with no worries about what people will think,” Ciraolo said. “This is what I love the most about this job. I just do what I love and if other people like it too, it’s even better.”
The likes of Dorothy Gale dolled up á la Kreayshawn may occupy the foreground of Ciraolo’s work, but it’s the glimpses of vintage Trapper Keeper psychedelia and floral wallpaper patterns bleeding across the background that imbue his aesthetic with an admirable consistency. When Ciraolo ditches the famous names and indie rock inside jokes (would Cleopatra really sport something as instantly dated as a Justice tattoo?) in works like “Beautiful Swimmers,” “My imaginary friendly bear,” and “To late to die young” (sic), it’s obvious that his talent is more than the sum of its references.