Appreciating the Art of Pop Culture with Fernando Monroy

To see more of Fernando’s pop culture portraits, check out @fmonroyr on Instagram. For more music stories, head to @music.

“We live in a world where images come really, really fast — and we never have time to really stop and think about all the work that is behind them,” says 20-year-old art student Fernando Monroy (@fmonroyr) from Mexico City, whose drawings of celebrities are based on photos he finds in entertainment and fashion magazines.

Fernando spends up to five hours hand-drawing, scanning and then digitally colorizing his portraits — all in hopes of bringing more appreciation to the images of musicians, models and other stars ever present in daily media but often quickly forgotten. “Pop culture — we see it every day and we live on it,” says Fernando. “The photos that we see in magazines or the covers of a CD — I want the people to really see that they can be considered art.”

Fernando has been drawing ever since he can remember, filling notebooks at school full of sketches in place of actual notes. And although he’s drawn landscapes and other subjects in the past, people have remained his main source of inspiration — particularly female pop stars.

“I always draw Lady Gaga. I like that she’s always changing so I can make a lot of drawings about her,” he says, adding, “Men are probably the most difficult for me to draw. I always go back to the sketch and I don’t like it, and I have to redraw it again. And I hate to draw myself.”

While it’s clear that Fernando’s subject matter will continue to depend on the biggest stars of the moment — the mission behind his artwork will remain the same: “We always are going to want more and more and more until we realize that we already have some things that are valuable.”

–– Instagram @music