The New York Optimist
February 2009
Latin house fusion pumps relentlessly, multi-cultural couples fill the dance floor, which in the cozy nether regions of Williamsburg's Bembe
extends wall to wall. Two young Latinas excitedly discuss a young unassuming man in a fedora and lightly tinted a brown glasses, who is
speaking with their male friend. "That's Santiago, the artist on MySpace", the taller one leans down and breathily yells into her friends hair,
clearly believing herself to be in the presence of someone worthy of her exuberance. "Really?!", her companion squeals, "Oh my God, he's
amazing!" Their excitement is justified. Upon witnessing the passionate, color saturated visual outpourings that are posted internet wide for his
global audience; surprise and awe are usually the instant sensations.  Known for his extreme exercises in creativity and highly distinctive style of
digital painting, very few would recognize him due to the fact his internet profiles bear only one or two photos of him and hundreds of eye-
popping, mind bending beautiful images.   Born in the Bronx, as a teen he entered New York City's High School of Art and Design, where the
artsy misfits find themselves amongst a myriad of peers that compliment and neutralize the feeling that they are indeed "different". He went on to
graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Fine Arts at the world renowned Fashion Institute of Technology.  One of his most noteworthy and
concentrated projects involves his creating 30 images in 30 days. It is a grueling exercise in tapping into his creative spirit that seems endlessly
accessible.  Summer '08 proved to be the summer of a Latina Pin-up heat wave that he posted daily on MySpace, Behance and Flickr, he called
"30 Days of Heat". Through the advent of social networking, art has reached people by way of friend request. Santiago's work was noticed and
before he knew it, more than 11,000 people knew who he was, with hundreds regularly leaving comments on his pics, which in his case were
never of himself but of his recent works or political outcries.   Having learned of Facebook's global reach and the vast art community
networking through the newer site, Santiago's friend list grew again in a flash and in it were beauties across the world that pumped his always
searching mind with the inspiration for the new 30 Days project.  A proponent of "cultural mash-ups" he whimsically plays with portraiture that
often combines the women with touches that distinctly represent another culture altogether. To give us a blonde blue eyed girl from Sweden
would be expected, mundane even, something he could never be. Gorgeous Imane from France, with her light caramel complexion isn't what
most would expect to find as the representative of her country, but there she is, enticing a Chinese dragon to bite into a particularly bitter-sweet
lollipop. Sou Sou of Kuwait wears a wrap, her eyes blaze and wait…are those space invaders that make up the hounds tooth pattern?! Just when
you think that you know what kind of surprise is going to greet you, you log on and brace yourself to see the next gorgeous face to find the
representatives of Antarctica smiling coyly back at you in the form of two lovely penguins, Penny and Gwinny. Pure genius, always fun and
visually fulfilling Santiago's works will soon be spilling out of the interwebs and into a gallery near you.

Want to be his friend?

Send him a poke at
To work with him contact his agent: (917) 662-8280
Article By: Jani Rosado

Santiago's painterly use of pixels captures the unique beauty of international Facebook friends,
while slamming in your face cultural juxtaposition to remind that though we are of the country
we live in we often carry passion for the cultures of our international neighbors. Sou Sou, of
Kuwait carries the houndstooth Space Invaders, illustration of war on her visage and all
around her. Natalie of Lebanon stares lovingly from behind a Mexican Day of the Dead
calavera. Stunning Maria of Russia gives the dreamy-eyed coy smile & classic drama of
vintage Mexican movie posters. Natasha of Denmark funks out with a blend of Marie
Antoinette meets African punk styles. Graffiti Geisha Iraida of the USA whips out the Krylon
ready to throw-up a burner. Dark Lolita style Bei of Australia displays the tragic innocence of
an LA vata. Nnenna of Nigeria is emblazoned with a traditional Japanese koi tattoo looking for
love. Finally we have one of his trademark pieces, who wasn't one of the 30 day muse series
but fully illustrates his mastery of shape, composition and color, she goes by the name of Sun
of Spanish Harlem