Guille Carmona’s vibrant illustrations are a queer fever dream

Despite their otherworldly aesthetic, there is a distinct vulnerability to Guille Carmona’s illustrations. The Spanish-born illustrator’s digital artworks typically depict bristling-muscled characters engaging in activities such as weeping and hanging out with cute fluffy animals.

Much of the inspiration for Carmona’s practice, which he describes as “an extremely queer fever dream”, comes from his childhood, when he spent much of his time reading manga and watching anime.

“My mum was a painter, so I have been around a creative environment since I was very little,” he tells CR. “My dad comes from a completely opposite world but he is a sci-fi geek, and he introduced me to that sort of literature that definitely let me visualise reality in a different way.”

Today, the illustrator is influenced by everything from 80s airbrush artists and sci-fi book covers through to folk narratives and Japanese new wave art. The subject matter he is most drawn to, however, is extreme masculine homoeroticism.

“I am really interested in the gym bro culture and the theatrics of it. I guess it is also a comment on the ‘masc for masc’ toxicity so prevalent in gay culture and how performative it is,” he explains.

Carmona’s distinctive aesthetic has caught the eye of an increasing number of clients and collaborators of late, particularly from the world of fashion. His first magazine cover for Buffalo Zine’s latest issue, which explores the paradox of the colour pink, features a lounging hot pink character clad in little more than silk pants and a Prada it bag.

He also cites his recent collaboration with Spanish fashion designer Paula Canovas del Vas, for whom he created a series of fantasy creatures adorned in her AW22 collection, as one of his favourite commissions to date.

As for what’s next for Carmona, he is excited to expand his practice into new areas such as 3D animation and beyond. “I am currently practicing airbrushing and I am more keen on starting to produce more tangible types of art, but ultimately I am learning to enjoy the process of discovering new tools,” he says.