There are thousands of people who would love to see Captain America in a crop-top.
That’s what Christian Cimoroni found out when the CCAD alumnus and t-shirt designer started focusing his illustrations on skewing the sexuality and genders of his favorite pop culture icons.
“That’s never something that would happen in the movies,” he said of Captain Crop-Top, or his queer-friendly Deadpool, or his hipster hirsute Batman. “They’re still attractive and muscular and strong, but a little fem. And it’s because that’s what I find attractive: the masculine and feminine combined.
While his art has transitioned from more elegant, hand-drawn silhouettes to campy, yet carefully crafted digital pieces, Cimoroni is also undergoing a more personal exploration of his profile as an artist. Always obsessed with female superheroes or supervillains as a kid, he’s moving more toward body-positive depictions of bigger, everyday dudes.
“It’s been transformative,” he said. “I’m exploring more masculinity in my art because I never did that as a kid. I always felt fluid in my gender; sometimes I’m more masculine and sometimes I’m more feminine, and it’s important to me that comes out in what I’m conveying to the world.”
The world is certainly taking notice. Cimoroni’s nearly 9,000 Instagram followers started growing by the day last month when Buzzfeed tagged his dreamy “Barbs Do It Better” illustration in a list of Stranger Things fan art.
Trendy? Absolutely, says the full-time designer for local t-shirt syndicate Look Human. It’s good for artists to care about what’s trendy.
“Even if you’re not making an illustration that day, you’re using your brain to think of what’s trending in life right now,” he said. “It’s important to be mindful of things that are capturing people’s attention and express them in your art, because that’s how people take note of what you’re saying in the moment.”
To keep up with Cimoroni in the moment, visit rebelrebelblackandwhite.tumblr.com or follow @ccimoroni12.