Acacio Ortas

Published in 
Issue 21

Acacio Ortas’ art is to the art world what Saturn was to the automobile industry. It was 1985, a time when the sleek, affordable cars of Japan were dismantling the once American-dominated industry, and General Motors responded with Saturn, “A Different Kind of Car Company.” Different was a euphemism for strange— off—a fleet of cars looking like they put on Jim Carrey’s Mask. Built with dent-resistant plastic, Saturn also re-introduced the infamous suicide door, which opened backwards behind the driver’s seat. Despite being named after the rocket that brought astronauts to the moon, the Saturn brand soon collapsed and its cars were discontinued. Nowadays, if you’re lucky enough to see one in the wild, it will stand out like a piece of Deviant art. Acacio Ortas is unafraid of such ugliness, and a 90s nostalgia we’re not quite ready for.

Born in 1994 to two cartoonists, Ortas was formatively exposed to the world of underground comics and early video games. Published in the comic anthology Lagoon, as well as his own side publication Humor Zone, co-founded with Nicolas Guinea, Ortas is an active participant in his generation of comics. A fan of Phil Foglio, and the two other designers for Magic: The Gathering, Ortas fuses medieval fantasy with a bleak vision of the future world. Ortas’ universe is one of vape culture, goatees, and urban decay. Ortas says he’s inspired by anonymous artists who have licensed artwork for video games, as well as the TF community, a collective of illustrators who fetishize transformation and metamorphosis. Ortas draws from his childhood, things one could find in a little boy’s mind: army, sludge, fog, a mission, laser guns. Alternating between digital and manual processes, Ortas has created a textured, unique cartoon world. -Claire Milbrath

Read this story in print Issue 21