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Robert Santoré Hawaii. Photography Candice Solomon
Robert Santoré is an American artist known for his colorful emotional paintings that blend elements of both the figurative and abstract.
Born in Houston, Texas, Robert is a 5th generation Texan. Santoré grew up in the UK and later in Huntington, Newport and Laguna Beaches in Souther California. From an early age embraced surfing and the “So Cal beach lifestyle.“
The oldest child in a creative family enabled his talent to be recognized early where he spent most of his life in the art world.
Santoré attended Parson’s School of Design in New York City and went on to study at the The Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles where he honed his skills as a painter.
He began exhibiting his work in the 1980s and became well-known for his distinctive approach and vibrant color choices.
Santoré’s paintings often feature abstracted figures, words and phases, urban landscapes, and methodological elements that are rendered in a bold and expressive manner evoking a sense of
energy and movement. He is characterized by his use of vibrant colors and strong, gestural brushstrokes.
He was heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionist & POP ART movement of the 1950s and 60s, which emphasized the emotional and physical act of painting and ironic pop-art commentary.
Santoré’s art career has been marked by a constant evolution, with his work reflecting his exploration of new techniques and styles. He has experimented with various mediums, such as oil paint, encaustic, acrylics, gouache, watercolors, military and industrial enamels, and has depicted a diverse range of subjects, including the human figure, urban landscapes, and the ocean.
He frequently employs a technique called “Alla Prima,” which involves applying wet paint to wet paint in order to create a sense of immediacy and energy in the final work.
“I want my paintings to stand alone, to speak for themselves. am only the conduit.” He believes that art is a universal language which communicate across cultures and languages.
In addition to painting, Santoré is also a prolific printmaker, creating etchings, lithographs, and other editions continuing to today.
His works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums across the United States and around the world, and is held in many private and public collections.
He is currently working in his Soho studio focusing on his vibrant and expressive art. His work continues to inspire and captivate viewers as a talented, innovative artist who pushes the boundaries of contemporary painting.
His works continue to attract and move viewers with their raw emotional power and his dynamic visual language.
Santoré’s paintings often feature abstracted figures, words and phases, urban landscapes, and other elements that are rendered in a bold and expressive manner evoking a sense of energy and movement. He is characterized by his use of vibrant colors and strong, gestural brushstrokes. He was heavily influenced by the Abstract Expressionist movement of the 1950s and 60s, which emphasized the emotional and physical act of painting and ironic pop-art commentary.
Santoré attended Parson’s School of Design in New York City and went on to study at the The Otis Art Institute in Los Angeles, where he honed his skills as a painter.
He began exhibiting his work in the 1980s and quickly gained recognition for his unique style and bold use of color.
Throughout his career, Santoré’s work evolved and changed, reflecting his ongoing exploration of new techniques and styles. He experimented with different mediums, including oil paint, encaustic, acrylics, and watercolors, and his subjects ranged from the human figure to urban landscapes and still life.
He frequently employed a technique called “alla prima,” which involves applying wet paint to wet paint in order to create a sense of immediacy and energy in the final work.
Despite his success as an artist, Santoré is known for his humility and dedication to his craft. He once said, “I want my paintings to stand alone, to speak for themselves. I am only the conduit.” He believed that art was a universal language that could communicate across cultures and languages.
In addition to painting, Santoré was also a prolific printmaker, creating etchings, lithographs, and other prints continuing to today. His work has been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums across the United States and around the world, and is held in many private and public collections.
Santoré primarily works in his Soho studio focusing on his vibrant and expressive art. His work continues to inspire and captivate viewers as a talented and innovative artist who pushes the boundaries of contemporary painting. His works continue to inspire and move viewers with their raw emotional power and dynamic visual language. His contributions to the art world will be remembered for years to come, and he remains a beloved figure among artists and art enthusiasts alike.
Santoré is best known for his series of large format, word paintings, abstract figures, heavily influence as a boomer generation painter, the colors, music, fashion and advertising of the 1960s & 70s he was exposed to as a child. His “neo-postwar abstract expressionist paintings”, a practice he began in 1986. He started introducing Words and numbers into his early and notable abstract paintings, such as “Famous” (1986), “Baby Linen” (1987) “Bull Market” (1988) and “JunkBond” (1989) thus reinstating content. His use of defined or extant symbols differentiated his paintings from the gestural abstraction of the Abstract Expressionists, (however he including this method of painting) whose paintings were often understood as expressive of the individual personality or psychology of the artist. Because Santoré imported well-known motifs into the fine arts, his paintings can be read as both representational (a factories, figures, aircraft) and as abstract patterns. Curators and collector’s characterize his choice of subjects as freeing him from decisions about composition. Santoré has remarked: “What’s interesting to me is developing an interconnected visual language and exploring common element across various narratives and composition . It’s not all mine,” or, that the visual language I repete are “s the mind already knows and challenges the viewer to relearn what they recognize.”
He also often used painted reliefs in his paintings which challenge typical conceptions of paintings as two-dimensional. Santoré often used oil, oil stick, encaustic and military and industrial enamel’s as a painting method to create bumpy, textured surfaces unusual in painting.
Santoré also produces intaglio & giclée prints, sculptures and lithographs. Since 1984 Santoré has worked in a variety of printmaking techniques to investigate and develop existing compositions. Initially, lithography suited Santoré and enabled him to create print versions of the visual language that filled his paintings.
Robert is 5th generation Texan having spent his early years in the United Kingdom as an “air force brat”, and his formative years growing up in Southern California beach towns; Huntington Beach, Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, California. He was accepted into the prestigious UCLA Film School but chose instead to focus on contemporary art and attended Parsons School of Design in New York as well as the Otis Art Institute of Parsons School of Design in Los Angeles, CA and later attended the University Of California at Irvine.
Robert began creating large scale works of art & editions from his downtown Los Angeles loft before leaving school. His first solo painting exhibition was held at the Jerry Solomon Gallery in Los Angeles, CA in November 1986 and sold out. He has had solo exhibitions sponsored by the City Of Los Angeles, Security Pacific Bank/The Los Angles Museum of Contemporary Art, The Los Angeles Municipal Art Collection, The Jerry Solomon Gallery in Los Angles, The Brenden Walter’s Gallery in Santa Monica California and The Portfolio Gallery of Fine Art in Beverly Hills, California and has participated in many group shows & exhibitions both in the United States and internationally. Robert is in the permanent collections of The Newport Harbor Art Museum, The Laguna Beach Museum of Contemporary Art and the San Jose Museum of Art and is in many private and corporate collections.
Robert, an avid surfer to this day, also embraced competitive alpine skiing as a teen and was selected by the United States, Jr. National Alpine Ski Team (US Ski Team B Team). He continues to enjoy travel to both the South Pacific and Europe in particular, where he is able to satisfy his love of both sports, new experiences and continued exposure to classical and contemporary art, sculpture and architecture.
After many happy years with his family in the Berkshire Mountains in Western Massachusetts, he returned to Manhattan where he concluded a career as an award winning creative director and user experience strategist and painter. In 2018 Robert returned to Texas to the property held by his family since 1818 and continues painting in earnest in the re-launch of his successful fine art career.
Robert has had the great fortune of meeting many other celebrated artists starting with Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean Michel Basquiat while still a student at Parsons. Others artists he has admired and met are Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha, Ed Moses, Robert Longo, Billy Al Bengston, Larry Bell, Craig Kauffman, Chuck Close, Julian Schnabel, Eric Fischl et al.
Robert is currently working in oils, watercolor and gauche, egg tempura, and producing sculptures in steel and wood. Santore is an extremely versatile artist & craftsman who brings his myriad of experiences and his unique vision of life and beauty to his remarkable works of art
Santore traveled extensively through Europe and the South Pacific his current work focusing on the juxtaposition of experience, events and memories from his travels.
What Sparked it All?
Painted in 1958 at the age of 28
The Whitney Museum Of American Art
Painted in 1967 at the age of 6
Happly Hanging in the Soho Loft
My family moved from the United Kingdom to Southern California. My father had been stationed at Bentwaters Air Force base in Great Brintain and was transferred to March Air Force base in Southern California.
We fully embraced the Southern California lifestyle and settled in Huntington Beach in 1967. Our family enjoyed all the typical activities of the time, from visiting Disneyland, Knott’s Berry Farm, Universal Studios and Marine Land, to camping in Joshua Tree National park and the gold rush country in the High Sierra Mountains. We often had late- night beach bonfires with music playing in the background, providing the soundtrack to our lives.
I began surfing at the age of 7 and started skateboarding the following year. The open culture of Southern California, with its dynamic and colorful environment, provided me with a free-range childhood that was a stark contrast to the structured and scheduled life I had previously experienced as a military (air force brat) child.
A very early memory that sticks out is when my mother took me to the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles. As we drove she told me the two of us were “going to see some very special things she wanted to show me and meet some cool people.”
We saw works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Wallace Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, Robert Irwin, John Mason, Kenneth Price, Llyn Foulkes (I later studied under Llyn at Otis/Parson), Larry Bell (and Larry went to my 1st solo show at the Jerry Solomon Gallery), Ed Ruscha and others.
On the way home I asked if we could stop and buy some art supplies. The next day we did:
“We saw works by Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Wallace Berman, Billy Al Bengston, Ed Moses, Robert Irwin, John Mason , Kenneth Price, Llyn Foulkes, Larry Bell, Ed Ruscha.”
1 tube of Cobalt blue
1 tube of Prussian blue
1 tube of Mars black< I still own the painting and it hangs today in the Soho loft. The result was “RED”
11 x 14in (27.94 x 35.56cm) Oil on canvas
NYC NYC NYC dropping soon
Preview online and avaliable on Amazon and Monarch Publishing soon.
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