This designer’s macabre take on portraits is strangely mesmerising

Pablo Gerardo Camacho, a graphic designer based in Bogota, creates portraits that are as stunning as they are disturbing.

Inspired by the macabre, Camacho’s illustrations depict images of people with grotesque facial features, such as having multiple eyes and mouths, non-existent skin, and snakes slithering through every orifice.

It’s creepy for sure, but what makes his work so irresistible to look at is the contrast between the dark elements and the vibrant colour palette. It’s like seeing characters from a horror film, but in the aesthetic of Miami Vice or Blade Runner.

Camacho also makes surreal drawings of animals. A little less spooky, but just as beautiful.

We recently caught up with Camacho to find out more about his art. Take a look:

Why the recent transition towards bright colours and what impact has this had on your art?

“As a graphic designer, I tended to limit my colour palette to three colors: black and bone, and red or ocre.

“Eventually got a commission to illustrate some colorful and fun characters for a child audience. Since then, well, my shyness to use and mix colors vanished.

“The current palette I’m working on matches well with the kinda sombering style my illustrations got, so they don’t get to be too much edgy and dark.”

How vibrant is the art scene in Bogota?

“It’s truly amazing. There are so many great tattoo artists, mind-blowing murals on the streets, new and refreshing illustrators, neat photography, and an underground performance scene that’s getting strong.

“Bogotá, it’s growing so fast. There are so many concerts, so many people from around the world, many cultural events. Dope stuff.”

How much a part does your Venezuelian roots play in shaping your design and art aesthetic?

“It’s so much more present now than in my work from five years ago. I was influenced a lot by Gerd Leufert and his Nenia series, the comic style from Pedro León Zapata and, and my teacher Abilio Padrón. I think, unconsciously, I’m currently influenced by Carlos Zerpa’s work.”

What other illustrators are inspiring you at the moment?

“There are so many amazing illustrators right now. Just looking on social networks and I see so many inspiring images like Nychos, Cleon Peterson, Oneq, obviously Shintaro Karo, and so on.

“But my friends and colleagues are the principal fountain of inspiration: @stefanodicristofaro, @darthmandy, @victormosquera, @eidmos.”

You can see more of Pablo Gerardo Camacho’s work on Instagram.