Written by Michael Ashman
The sea is one of the least explored parts of the planet, and has lended imaginative fuel for all types of writers, artists and other creatives. Michael “Monstrinho” Amorillo’s new show at Thumbprint Gallery creates an entire imaginative world based around the artist’s experiences and connection with the sea. The new show, titled “Monstro and the Kelp Kids” shows off the artist’s imaginative group of characters that love the sea. There are paintings for each character and a lot more that feature them together adventuring the ocean waves. “Our Family Loves the Sea” is a group shot that incorporates Monstro and his cast of Kelp Kids. Monstro is the main character, who is a monster that wants to be friendly and not scary. The Kelp Kids each have a unique style, personality and culture all their own.
“Our Family Loves the Sea” is like a happy group photo, with all the main characters celebrating their friendship. The big purple beast with the big jaw full of pointy teeth is Monstro. Beneath him are some of the Kelp Kids that travel around on a big purple whale to promote positivity, diversity, and creativity. Every Kelp Kid comes from a different place from around the world. Each Kelp Kid is drawn with their personality in mind, creating a well rounded group picture. Every character has a name, even the sun and the moon who go by Sister Sun and Brother Moon. The main text on the painting reads, “We believe in family first. Our family loves the sea,” and suggests love and positivity through uniting friends and family with nature.
Monstrinho’s loose, sketchy style leads to some interesting design features for his kid-friendly characters. He works using open and free movements as he paints. Simple outlines for his characters become more animated as the intricate and free-flowing line work adds another layer of complexity to each of his characters. The flat drawings seem to have depth as ink lines overlap pencil sketches. This painting and his other works give off an energy that only unrestricted creativity could accomplish.
His use of color is also fun and full of energy. He uses his gouache paint in free manner, and it almost always extends past the outlines of his figures. In this painting, the color is literally dripping from the characters. Some of outlines break free from the figures and run down the canvas as well. Spots of spray paint fill some of the white space of the canvas. And by taking more of the white canvas away, they make the colors more prominent. Every character has a unique color scheme that, together, makes a complete and beautiful rainbow effect.
Monstrinho’s paintings promote an upbeat mood, and they often have positive spiritual concepts attached to them. He paints his characters with colorful auras around them in their individual paintings. They all possess a third-eye, which in a spiritual sense gives them sight into higher levels of energy, such as enlightenment. The jellyfish in this painting, and in his other works, have closed, meditative-like eyes that emphasize their quiet and serene nature. Next to the two jellyfish in this painting are two philosophical-like words, “Exchange” and “Dreams”. And another positive-thinking phrase, “Follow your heart,” is written near the bottom of the group. It all helps tie together a positive message that all ages can enjoy and uplift their spirits.
More of Monstrinho’s creative works are on display at Thumbprint Gallery until June 2. “Monstro and the Kelp Kids” art show can be seen at Thumbprint Wednesdays,Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 4pm and is free and open to the public. For those that missed out on the opening reception, a closing reception for Monstrinho’s solo show will be held on Thursday, May 30 from 6pm to 9:30pm at Thumbprint Gallery. Enjoy art and free drinks while supporting Thumbprint and Monstrinho. RSVP for the closing reception on Facebook by clicking HERE.