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Public Monsters: Artist Georgina Ciotti’s Graffiti

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Look at the painting. Really look at it. Remind you of anything? It should. Barcelona artist Georgina Ciotti created some truly iconic creatures for Hellboy I and II and for Pan’s Labyrinth, at the invitation of Guillermo del Toro. Looking at the work shown here–which is not really a painting, but more of a street art piece, a mural done on the side of a flea market in Buenos Aires, Argentina–it’s easy to recognize Ciotti’s style in the films named. There’s a distinctive quality to her images.

So distinctive, in fact, that I’ve long been haunted by the look of Pan’s Labyrinth.

It was thrilling to see Ciotti’s work in another setting. I only saw the one mural of Ciotti’s in Buenos Aires on a recent trip there, but she’s done a series of pieces throughout the city. Technically, Ciotti is considered a graffiti artist, although graffiti isn’t illegal in Buenos Aires as it is in so many other places. As a result, the street art in the city is quite rich, as I discovered during my time there in July.  It’s not all unpaid work–many artists are paid to create public works, while others do it as a way to advertise what they’re capable of, hoping for paid gigs to follow.

For Ciotti, I’m not sure if she’s doing other work, but from the sound of things in many of her interviews, she committed to working in Buenos Aires solely on these wonderful, creepy public pieces:

Her beautiful designs light up a bar and theatre space, a tango studio, two hairdressers and a beauty parlour. Since returning from Spain at the end of 2009, Georgina Ciotti has dedicated herself to creating a series of fantastic murals in Buenos Aires. “I have always had a tendency for the fantasy,” says Georgina. “When I was working in Barcelona, my designs were more about women and the female form, and works relating to topics such as desire or suffering and these types of things. Now I’m trying to create a bit more of the fantasy.”

She’s also part of a budding collection of women artists in the Buenos Aires street art scene. If you ever find yourself in Buenos Aires, do yourself a favor and check out one of the street art tours to see Ciotti’s work, work by other female graffiti artists, and other pieces of public art. I opted for a tour of the north side of the city with Graffitimundo and the fabulous Ana Montenegro. Not all the work dark or creepy, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me to see more of these artists tapped for creature creation in horror films.

A few samples:

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