When we talk about Abril Andrade's stark and angular illustrations we hesitate from employing the tired old tropes of darkness, brooding, of the gothic, malevolent Pop art; Andrade’s work is so much more. Gracing the walls of tattoo parlors, the pages of international magazines, and private collections, this largely flat cartoonal aesthetic exudes a remarkable sense of depth. Andrade’s stunning series ‘Day of the Dead’ is inspired by the largely Mexican dia de los muertos holiday that celebrates departed ancestors and friends through an iconography of altars and skulls. Yet, as is equally true of Andrade’s stunning and entangled foliage, dia de los muertos recognizes death not as a sign of decrepitude but of a new beginning, opening the door not to a heavenly sky but a colorful tomb. In societies so resolute in their refusal to acknowledge life’s final journey, these joyful, carnivalesque scenes are an inventive way of facing the inevitable.
Andrade’s other offerings are replete with contorted trees and the kind of throbbing baby-doll eyes that would make a J-Pop star blush. In these instances her works are reminiscent of the powerful Muralist style that appeared in Mexican art of the mid twentieth century under the leadership of the Modernist powerhouse Diego Rivera. Characterized by a sense of monumentality, minimalism, and richness of production, Andrade has created an artistic universe that draws inspiration from the life cycles of the natural world, whilst foregrounding the innocence and helplessness of the human subject.