For Filipino contemporary artist Ehrran Montoya fashion editorials offer more than posh sets and human hangers for clothing. Having roots in fashion illustration, Montoya creates paintings with a strong bent for the linear elegance of the drawn line and for fashion visuals with careful attention paid to the styles, patterns, folds, and volumes of clothing. Each tableau of figures in ink or acrylic is a story frozen in time, a setting for fantasies and escapist dramas.
Montoya takes what he can from the masters of fashion illustration, like the sensuous and strong lines in the stark portraits of David Downton. And like Downton, Montoya has an affinity for the golden years of fashion illustration found, for instance, in the pages of vintage Vogue. He is drawn to luminaries of that era -- Rene Bouche, Jean Demarchy, Rene Gruau, and Bernard Blossac -- and to the fashion from the 1940s to the 1960s. These influences would explain, in part, Montoya's minimalist use of colors and rough sketch-like strokes of black, and his careful appropriation of vintage fashion.
Montoya, however, has developed over the years a distinct approach of his own, exploiting, for instance, the material and textual texture of newspapers as the foundational surfaces of his paintings. This is no gimmick or attempt at a democratic material. Montoya carefully applies swathes of white acrylic and the black contours and shades of his figures to harmonize with the blocky letters and greyish brown of the newsprint, revealing their underlying structure when needed like the underpainting of traditional paintings. At times, he manipulates the newspaper text, editing or adding their narrative to his pictures. It's a fitting choice given some inescapable connotations of his fashion inspired images, connections that include the world of print advertising and magazine publishing.
Ehrran Montoya is a contemporary Filipino artist who is also an illustrator and fashion designer. He had his first solo show of paintings called “Remediare: After the Media” in 2020.