Imitating Life: Posing questions for local artist Robert Delgadillo

Cory Bilicko:
Managing Editor

Pop-culture icons converge with minimalism in artist Robert Delgadillo’s work. The 43-year-old says he’s a big fan of the motto “Less is more,” and this philosophy is evident in his mixed-media/digital portrayals of celebrities. Current stars like Rihanna, Pink and Katy Perry grace his portfolio, but so do pop mainstays like Madonna and Debbie Harry, as well as the late performers Jenni Rivera and Amy Winehouse.

Robert Delgadillo

Robert Delgadillo

His work is not limited to the divas of Top 40 though. The 1960s are well repped by images of the Rat Pack, Sean Connery as Bond and Jane Fonda as Barbarella.
Despite the minimalistic approach to his creations, it’s easy to tell right off who the subjects are. Delgadillo taps into their signature attitudes, snarls and personal styles and then highlights them within vivid colors and clean lines.

Aside from well-known celebs and celluloid characters, Delgadillo’s body of work also includes many other men, women and animals that have been used in marketing campaigns, and this graphic-design/art comprises his full-time work.

“Rihanna,” mixed-media/digital

“Rihanna,” mixed-media/digital

Born in Norwalk, Delgadillo now splits his time between Vegas and SoCal.

What type of art is the most fulfilling for you?
Art that comes from the heart. I only design for clients or take on commercial projects that I have a personal interest in. Every design that I create is an extension of myself.

Do you make any art that is very different from the pop-inspired art you create?
Absolutely. I’m currently working with a writer in Brazil, illustrating a series of children’s books for her. It’s a big departure from what I typically do. I’m really enjoying the collaborative process and excited for people to get to see a different side of my illustrative style.

“Edie Sedgwick, Superstar,” mixed-media/digital

“Edie Sedgwick, Superstar,” mixed-media/digital

What do you do to combat artist’s block?
I don’t believe in “artist’s block,” nor have I ever experienced it. I always create from a space of joy and inspiration. If you feel obligated to create something or don’t like what you are designing, it will show. It’s not possible to be “blocked” from creativity when you are tapped into your artistic/creative source.

“Madonna, The Iconic One,” mixed-media/digital

“Madonna, The Iconic One,” mixed-media/digital

Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve created?
I love all the art I create. At the moment, I’m really into the portrait I did of the singer Jenni Rivera. When I was drawing it, I was listening to her music non-stop, and I felt really connected to her even though I had never met her while she was still alive. Art and music are such powerful things. I always try to connect with someone energetically when I draw them, and it always shows in the finished product.

“Jenni Rivera, La Gran Señora Vive,” mixed-media/digital

“Jenni Rivera, La Gran Señora Vive,” mixed-media/digital

Do you have a favorite that another artist has created?
Ruben Toledo and Jordi Labanda are two of my favorites. I love all their work!

What advice would you give a young artist who wanted to make it in the world of commercial art?
Educate yourself. That is to say– learn as much as you can about the type of art you want to share with the world. Being a commercial artist means you not only need to create compelling images but you need to be savvy as a businessperson. It’s a two-sided coin. Discipline, dedication and developing thick skin are a must as well. I am currently finishing a book I’ve written, titled Illustrated & Inspired, which has lots of great advice for aspiring artists wanting to make their mark in the world of commercial art. Stay tuned for that.

To view more of Delgadillo’s work, visit artofrad.com .

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