Iris Cintron is a freelance illustrator and designer working in Puerto Rico. Driven by a love of color and shape, Iris draws inspiration for her work from novels, comics, nature and day to day life. I was thrilled when I stumbled upon her work on Instagram where I was drawn (pun intended) in by her takes of some classic characters like Carmen Sandiego and Batgirl. What made me stick around was the flair of Cintron’s aesthetic; color and shape indeed.
What I love about Iris Cintron is just how versatile she is as an artist. Her character work is reminiscent of Darwyn Cooke with less angles and anyone who reminds me of Darwyn Cooke is a winner in my books. When you look deeper into her portfolio though, you discover a love for the surreal, a more abstract bent. It wasn’t until Cintron’s mermaid streak, mermay, that she merged these interests, building a run of mermaid characters contorted into bizarre, twisty postures ornamented with colorful tail designs and heads of big bold hair.
A favorite of mine came out on Day 7 of mermaid week. Under her pseudonym Sirimme, Cintron posted an illustration of a macaroni-and-cheese-skinned mermaid. Here the tail is accentuated by splotches of read with clouds of white and a smattering of black, some of the white and black coming out in her skin. The eyes are a signature of the series, huge round kaleidoscope swirls of color, a sort of plum in this case which gives the character an almost cult-like sense of joy. In other pieces, like Day 5, it presents a confused fear. Turns out kaleidoscope eyes can be just as expressive as our everyday norm eyes. Back to Day 7 and another signature of the series I’ve mentioned, the hair. A tweedy plume of blue, like Bettie Paige on one side and loosed, pulled away by the waters on the other. It feels classic and active and odd all at the same time. Everything in these pieces feels classic and new, an unrecognized recognizability with swirls of color that just hit somewhere inside. It’s an interesting appeal that keeps me coming back, looking forward to seeing what Iris Cintron will create next.