My first interaction with Santiago’s artwork came on MySpace, the social network where rock stars, porn stars, wannabe musicians and groupies, and the rest of us converge under one buggy but rather influential hub for the most random of reasons. There, someone had a pretty interesting profile picture. It had a lady with headphones, with striking red and oranges. Naturally, my curiosity led to me to click on this profile. Instantly, I was introduced to Santiago.
Bombastic. Unforgiving. Boisterous.
In person, he is none of these. He’s entirely unassuming in his paperboy cap, rough goatee, an everyday man. Yet, once people look at the art, they have a deep understanding of the workings of his mind, and becomes everything I’ve described. He often refers to himself as a “vessel for the art,” as if his Illustrator skills come from some other divine being rather than from the soft-spoken man who points, clicks, and creates unique perspectives of what he envisions the world as, as if the subject becomes a multicolored hotspot of energy. While others learned their craft strictly to emulate their favorite artists’ style, Santiago’s images often strive to surpass his favorite artists, making a mark all his own, and keeping his feet grounded in his Latino roots. From the beautiful and sexual to the cultural and celebratory, he doesn’t seek to just bring life to his subjects, whether imaginary or otherwise. He seeks to promote and propagate his culture through the art, visually describing the vibrancy and pride that so many of us feel for our own people. His portraits range from futuristic and glorifying to risqué and sensual, and whether it’s a personal portrait or an advertisement from a major company, he challenges the viewer to forget their perceptions of his Expressionist Impressionism and just enjoy it for the exuberance and artistry. And it emanates from Santiago.
I never write about artists, but for all the friends he has in the virtual world, the outside world has yet to fully understand his genius.
To check out his cool stuff, feel free to go to http://www.riceandbeanz.net/.
Jose, who’s wants to be a connoisseur of avant-garde art …