Sept. 12 2012 01:30 PM

Editorial work galore for Philippines-born illustrator

A self-portrait by Kristina Collantes

CityBeat's cover art this week is an illustration of Claire Boucher, better known by her stage name, Grimes, the Canadian electro-pop artist. It's easy to see why Grimes would appeal to Kristina Collantes' style of art; for the past two years, the self-taught illustrator has switched her focus from pattern work and abstract shapes to surreal portraiture. Still, personas like Grimes reflect the intricate style that landed Collantes her first gig at GQ when she was just 18.

"Right now, my only client is The New Yorker," Collantes, now 25, says humbly of her portraiture work for the magazine. Her body of published illustrations is impressive, with clients ranging from LA Weekly to Ok Go and Vice. She also designed The Flaming Lips' promo posters and merchandise in 2010 for the Bonnaroo music festival.

Collantes lives in Los Angeles now but considers San Diego her hometown; she moved here with her family from the Philippines in 1987.

The next chapter for Collantes switches mediums from glossy mags to skin.

"I've started tattooing," she says. "It feels like editorial work to me, except that I get to draw on people and interact with them. I'm hoping to open a private studio space soon."

Amy blogs at and you can follow her on Twitter @saysgranite.


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