Flamingo Tongue Creations®

Cheryl Chirillo, owner and photographer



Artist Statement

Childhood is when my artistic vision started and continues to develop. After missing a connecting train to Long Island a family friend gave me a view of the Bowery in New York City in 1977 where I can recall my first mental photograph. I saw the silhouette of a man backlit by a streetlight holding his hand against an abandoned building that was leaning towards him. It seemed as though he was holding up the building. Artwork can become a link from the past to create a brighter future. By age twelve I had my first piece, a drawing of an album cover, in a school show at the local art museum.

Photography is my current medium. Studies in drawing, painting, and design have contributed to my work. Inspiration comes from nature, commercial fabrics, music, dreams, past experiences, and sometimes other artists. There are influences from past traumas and mundane daily life that find their way into my art. My work primarily has themes of water, reflection, abandonment, isolation, and decay. All of my underwater backdrops are custom sewn by me and some items in my works are from my childhood. Many props and some of the wardrobe in the photographs are either created or provided by me while other times they may be purchased, borrowed from other artists, or items of convenient access.

Abandoned places tend to look dark and dreary. When doing this type of photography work I look for the light because in life when we are in a dark place we need to find the light to realign ourselves. Also, the darkness can demonstrate its value by making the light brighter through contrast. Sometimes this is difficult if the building is unsafe or has the windows boarded up. Because of these situations, it may push me into areas such as closets or bathrooms in order to find a safe and lit area. These are not buildings that I want to take professional lights into because of the amount of dirt and debris.

Previously, I have also worked as a photographer for an online local weekly periodical and as a lighting assistant for other photographers. Twice my work has also been included in the local town hall “Art from Within” art shows.

Member of the Professional Photographers Association

Purcellville Art Council 2015-2016

Purcellville Preservation Association 2014-2016

Bronze and Bronze with distinction ratings by Sue Bryce Education Accreditation


Suspense Magazine Winter 2020 with Yoanna Designs

Loudoun Times (Spreading Good News) 2009