Miami-based photographer and graphic artist Santlov, is the mastermind behind the viral “ToysRLikeUs” photography series. His seemingly realistic photographs consist of widely recognized iconic toy characters situated in realistic scenarios, uniquely synchronizing fantasy with reality.
Influenced by the street art culture of Miami, New York, and London, Santlov created his own street art, helping develop and shape the skills showcased in his works today. He originally conceived the “ToysRLikeUs” concept as a parody and way to mock current trends and human behavior. He creates scenes featuring actual toys from his childhood that speak to society’s dependence on technology, most notably smartphones, tablets, and computers. Using toys of pop culture from the movie Toy Story, to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to Star Wars, Santlov creates eerie yet captivating photos that appear unnervingly realistic. Despite this dependence on technology, Santlov uses very little to no post-editing, as he aims to push the limits of realism as far as possible.
Ironically, society’s fascination with technology and social media played important roles in turning the “ToysRLikeUs” campaign into a viral sensation. Santlov garnered more than 300,000 followers in less than one year and he maintains a strong following to date. Since “ToysRLikeUs,” his body of work has expanded to include satirical yet enchanting pieces on a variety of medium which continue to fascinate viewers and demonstrate his talent and unique artistic vision.