Daniel Barreto

Last week I entered Slowdown Studio’s annual art competition (you can read all about what I created for the competition here). As part of my research, I looked at the previous year’s winners and was introduced to some incredible new creatives. One of my favourite illustrators the competition has introduced me to is Daniel Barreto who works as a visual artist at Estudio Barro in Guadalajara, Mexico. Daniel has built up an impressive client list over the years including the likes of Pottery Barn and American express and has also exhibited his work around the work at locations such as Times Square and Saatchi Gallery.

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There are countless elements I love about Daniel’s work. The textures, colours and compositions all work together perfectly to transport you into an alternative universe with it’s own unorthodox atmosphere. Here, the characters and scenery which surrounds them is altogether much more abstract and intriguing. Faceless people, headless beings (which I am of course a massive fan of) and undefined creatures are all common place with in Daniel’s world.

My favourite series from Daniel’s portfolio is his collection of faceless portraits, all of which feel like they are inviting you to unearth a mysterious and potentially quite dark narrative. The piece below shows a multi-coloured man who appears - and presumably feels - detached from his shadow. It was posted on Daniel’s Instagram with this understated caption:

“The thing with jokers is that they’re the most broken.”

This simple statement hints at hidden depths to the abstract character by subtly speaking of mental health and it’s ability to hide. Daniel’s eye for colour comes is particularly poignant with this illustration as it shows even the brightest, rainbow-coloured personas can be battling with secret demons.

The illustration above uses colour in a completely different but equally brilliant way. Daniel constantly uses an unlimited colour palette which becomes most evident in his most abstract works. The sea of pinks, blue and yellows never becomes garish or overpowering as they are paired back by a selection of complimentary earthy tones. This clever palette allows Daniel to create works with an array of different tones. Whether it is an otherworldly scene or a thought-provoking portrait, I cannot wait to see what Daniel conjures up next!


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