Interview with Angela Santana

Angela Santana is a Swiss artist and art director living and working in New York City. Foremost a professional artist, Santana creates large-scale oil paintings based on the vast amount of illicit imagery online, combining digital painting techniques with classical oil painting.

Could you tell us a bit about yourself?  

My name is Angela Santana, I'm a Swiss-born New York based artist.  

Where did you grow up?  

In Switzerland, close to Zurich  

Why and when did you move to New York?  

For more than ten years, I had close ties to New York. Be it friends, fun, work, travel or inspiration. Two years ago, my partner got offered a job here and we decided to take the adventure.  

What initially inspired you to pursue a career in Art and Design?  

I'm fascinated by language and art is my favourite one to communicate in.  

How would you describe your creative process?  

I’m questioning the mass of anonymous, illicit images online, which poignantly mirror the demand and fast consumption in society today. The full compositions are painted digitally in hundreds of layers, radically reinventing these found images. They are then further processed manually: painted on large canvases in oil. The large size bears a further conceptual thought, as the once anonymous and objectified women are now shifted and empowered - the object has become the subject. Bold and fierce in scale, they demand attention.  

Does your city and surroundings influence you as a creative and individual?  

Yes, everything I encounter and experience is an influence. The time we are living in is shaping us too, very much so in the digital age anyway.  

What do you struggle with the most in terms of working and living in a city like New York?  

A cacophony of constant noise and sirens.

The responsibility of the council in every city is to provide a solid foundation of design, art and cultural facilities, is that evident in New York?

Yes  

Do you think it is also the responsibility of the designer/creative to improve the quality of peoples lives in their city?

I believe every human being has a responsibility to do so, and it starts with each interaction: from neighbours to strangers in the subway.  

Can you tell us about any current or future projects that you are particularly excited about?  

The painting series is an ongoing project that I am excited to work on every day. There are no boundaries and I can explore the human condition and form. Every brushstroke opens up another possibility.  On a conceptual level, it questions our behaviour online, how we consume imagery at an accelerated speed, and how the mass of objectified content has helped shape and distort the perception of women in our collective consciousness. As an artist, I am an observer of society. Shifting those found images from object to subject is a very empowering message. Furthermore, I love the strength and permanence of the medium oil painting, it couldn't be more antagonistic to a fleeting digital thumbnail.  

What is the one thing you can’t live without in New York?  

AC

If you could add or change something about New York, what would that be?

I'd change a thing or two in Washington instead.  

Describe the perfect day for you in New York.

That would definitively be with my partner and involve our favourite coffee place, strolls, records, gigs, Italian food, friends and family. Saturday’s I also like to go to galleries in China Town and lunch somewhere around there.  

If you could choose any artist/creative from New York to collaborate with, who would that be and why?  

There's so much action, talent and history in this city, it’s almost overwhelming to think of just one name.  New York’s female painters, in particular, created a legacy that I am in awe of, such as Cecily Brown, Joan Semmel and Georgia O’Keeffe. 

What do you do to switch off?

Read, travel and listening to records.  

Sometimes people relate a specific smell to the city they live in or the place they grew up, does New York evoke a personal smell to you?

Magnolia and Rosemary thanks to our rooftop. Other than that, an equal measure of hotdog, coffee, bleach cleaning liquid and traffic.  

What is your favourite time of the day?

The Nights.  

If you weren’t living in New York and could choose any city to live in where would that be, and why?

I’ve lived and worked in so many cities! Zurich, Paris, Hamburg, London and New York. I love London and NYC for the multiculturalism.

new york by angela  santana

A selection of places in New York - recommended by artist  Angela Santana. See all of Angela's favourite places here 

www.angelasantana.com

More Interviews

Ethan Caflisch is an Oakland based artist whose practice encompasses painting, sculpture, photography, art direction and design. Across all disciplines, his work explores the beauty of raw materials and is personified by bold linear and organic forms, interspersed by a graphic use of color. His arts education began at the California College of the Arts, where he graduated with an Individualized Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Visual Studies Minor in 2015. His work has been exhibited in many esteemed institutions such as Petzel Gallery in New York, Hubbell Street Galleries in San Francisco, and the Oakland Museum of California.
Read More
Charlotte Strick is a principal at the multidisciplinary graphic design firm, Strick&Williams, founded in 2014 with her longtime friend and colleague, Claire Williams Martinez. The studio collaborates with cultural institutions and clients in the arts, publishing, education, non-profits and everything in-between. For 14 years prior, Strick was a designer turned art director at Farrar, Straus & Giroux, where she designed book covers for much-loved authors like Jonathan Franzen, Roberto Bolaño, and Lydia Davis. Her work has been featured in the AIGA 50 Books / 50 Covers show, the TDC Annual Exhibition, Print Magazine, and in many books about cover design. The proud owner of a coveted Silver Cube from The Art Directors Club, Charlotte is also Art Editor of the distinguished literary magazine, “The Paris Review”.
Read More
Sean Pecknold is a film director and stop-motion artist who has created music videos and commercials for the likes of Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear, BBC and the New York Times. He explores existential conundrums in his work, often using mystical or surreal imagery and stop-motion and mixed-media animation. On the road is where he feels the most at home. He grew up in Seattle, spent some time living in New York, and now lives in Los Angeles. He runs Sing-Sing studio in Los Angeles with Adi Goodrich.
Read More
Ed Templeton is an American photographer, contemporary artist, skateboarder, graphic designer and business owner. Working as a professional skateboarder in the early 90s, Ed quickly gained a reputation as an artist without any formal training. In 2000, his first book, Teenage Smokers, was published by Aaron Rose’s Alleged Press, and in 2002 he won the Italian Search For Art competition. In 1993 he founded the skateboard company, Toy Machine, a company that he still continues to own, design and manage. He lives and works in Huntington Beach, California with his wife, artist Deanna Templeton.
Read More
Florent Manelli is a 28-year-old French illustrator based in Paris. At the age of 14, discovering the work of Andy Warhol, he decided to take an interest in the visual arts. The need to draw did not manifest itself until much later, during a trip to Montreal and the meeting of a friend who encouraged him to pursue a career in Art.
Read More
Argentina
Austria
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Colombia
Croatia
Czechia
Finland
Georgia
Greece
Hong Kong
Iceland
India
Ireland
Israel
Latvia
Malta
Morocco
Norway
Pakistan
Panama
Philippines
Portugal
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Singapore
Slovenia
South Africa
South Korea
Taiwan
Thailand
Ukraine
United Arab Emirates
Uruguay