International Recognition & Success
Carlos Cartagena, born April 29th, 1960 in Guatemala City. In school, the teachers were impressed with Carlos drawing ability but later he wanted to do more than just draw. In 1981, he followed his dream and immigrated to America.
He worked at different jobs but in the late 80's he started learning airbrush techniques. The first ten years in the U.S. he worked in different types of jobs but in the late 80's he started self-teaching airbrush techniques, making lots of mistakes in the process but moving forward with his big dream.
In 1990, Carlos landed his first job as an illustrator for a Southern California electric sign company. It was good practice and he perfected many skills there. But soon it was time to advance, ...he would divide his time between freelance work, painting requests on leather jackets and a custom Harley Davidson bikes. Although by this time his work was gaining national recognition for his murals on the backs of leather jackets, now he was reaching a wealthier U.S. audience through his work on the tanks and fenders of Harley Davidson motorcycles. His work was beginning to reflect "his" style - sexy, sometimes erotic, but always in good taste. In 95 and 96 he won 1st places at Sturgis and Laughlin for his mural created on a custom Harley-Davidson.
In 1997 a designer and life-long surfer Mark Buck and founder of Slap-on Art Decals®. Came up with the idea for decals that could be applied to surfboards, car windows, shower doors, skis, skateboards, snowboards...anything with a smooth surface that would look better with a gorgeous image of a sexy woman applied to it. Cartagena was commissioned for a series of pinups for the first release of decals.
Advertising went in every magazine from Abercrombie & Fitch to Penthouse, Playboy, Surfer and endless other publications. Cartagena was an instant success, fans of his work gobbling up the decals and writing letters to him from around the globe. He finally reached the international audience. Slap-on was a HUGE SUCCESS and the floodgates opened for anyone looking for the hallmark of pinup artists. Carlos Cartagena had achieved his dream of international recognition and success and is sought out worldwide for his work.
Cartagena's pinups are now commissioned and licensed worldwide. His website attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors; some to just look, others to buy his collectables and others to do business.