Born in 1959, Jorge Santos is an american artist of Portuguese descent. He spent his childhood in Luanda, Angola on the coast of Africa. In 1975, Angola exploded in the violent political turmoil of decolonisation, forcing his family to flee the country. At the formative age of 16, Jorge found himself thrust into the equally turbulent and unknown culture of Lisbon, Portugal. The national struggle paralleled his own personal one and fuelled his passion for drawing. At this early stage, pencil drawing, the most simple and direct form of expression, perfectly suited his complicated and dramatic images and expressed his unique vision. The following years, as Portugal sunk into its own revolution, brought the artist no sense of belonging and in 1982 he relocated to the United States. It was here that his work evolved beyond drawing. His illusory, dreamlike images that hint at bizarre secrets leaped from the drawing board to the full realisation of paint and canvas. In 1990, particularly struck by an Odd Nerdrum show at NY Forum Gallery, the self-taught artist began adding colour to his images and in this second period, black and white figures stand out in stark contrast to their coloured environments. Though the techniques combine acrylic and pencil on board, or oil and acrylic on canvas, a balance of opposites continued to be the focus of his work. With every painting, a stage of ambiguous illusion is created. Suddenly, at the end of the millennium, Jorge’s paintings burst into full colour showing a mature command of his artistry. They are still surreal allegorical works but now tempered with the irony and humour of an eccentric yet adventurous mind. Figures are frequently fragmented, boxed within rooms, cardboard containers, or trompe-l’œil frames. The overall impact of the work is disturbing and yet endearingly funny. While one could spend hours psychoanalysing Jorge’s imagery, perhaps the best path to understanding his work, is that of a master set designer who creates an emotional landscape and populates it with characters to be animated in the imaginations of his viewers. He sets the stage and creates the cast, but each individual who sees the work writes his or her own internal play, making his work a unique, almost interactive, experience. Jorge Santos has participated in over 20 solo and 70 group exhibitions at numerous galleries, museums, and fine art fairs since 1986.
This is sample of his work
All images © Jorge Santos