Pinoy Highlights: Mark Jeffrey Santos, Pop Surrealist

In a world made of floating pizza and edible terrain, lived these vivid creatures who delighted in chasing sushi townsfolk and smoking cigars.

Yes, this is the kind of art that excites you. Makes you curious. And hurts your head as you desperately try to make sense of it all.

Today I have the pleasure of introducing to everyone Mark Jeffrey Santos. Aside from being a Filipino pop surrealist, he's also the creator of this yummy universe and the father of the psychedelic sasquatches--these cute colorful beasts I'm sure you'd want on your shirts or up your walls.

What inspired you to be an artist? Describe your early beginnings as an aspiring artist 
"I was a freelance multimedia artist before I started painting, at the same time I was employed as a booth designer and a  powerpoint presentation designer in an Ad Agency. doing stock Icons, infographics and illustrations for corporate clients was really good and it was really paying me a lot financially. But I realized that I'm not going to be happy doing it for the rest of my life. Yes, it paid my bills but the lack of fulfillment in it didn't stop me from leaving my job. Being exposed to Art was one thing that brought me to this path (thanks to my friends and Mr. Zuckerberg) but There are these aspirational people that I look up to made me believe that I can do it."

Kindly describe your style of art. (Medium, Process, Inspirations)
"I like to get the feeling of being in a bizzare place. The feeling of being in a place you've never seen before for the first time. I like to combine weird things and come up with something. It intimidates me to try a different medium so I just use acrylics for my paintings. I dont have any specific way of how I make my paintings, sometimes it just comes out of me naturally, or a memory pops into mind." 

How did you come to choose a furry fictional creature as the central theme of your artworks
"It's actually an accident. Me and my friends were trying to put up a clothing business and we want it to be character based designs. so every single day I tried to come up with atleast 1 character. I was aiming for something simple and flexible until I came up with an ape looking cactus and decided that its a sasquatch later on."

What's the one unforgettable moment you had that involved art?
"When I told a buyer the colors will not fade even if you put the painting in an area exposed to the sun."

What do you think are three things that hinder creatives from exploring their talents?
Lack of observation.

Is there a personal/social advocacy that you wish to portray through your artworks?
"To be honest my art is very personal, I've actually never thought about any advocacies."

Name 3 artists you look up to and why they inspire you.
"I admit I'm a fan of Jeff Soto, my art style was actually inspired by his works. I also like Dulk's work, I'm fascinated by how he distorts his characters. And lastly, Jared Nickerson, he was one of the artists I look up to that pushed me to make art."

As an artist, what would be your grandest aspiration?
"To be a full time artist that can support my family and make art until I can't."

3 pieces of advice for creatives going through a creative block.
Draw whatever's on your mind.
Listen to music.

Mark Jeffrey R. Santos is a Pop Surrealist painter residing in Antipolo, Rizal, Philippines. He studied BS Multimedia Arts and Sciences (MAS) in Mapua Institute of Technology where he began his ventures in the creative industry. He studied traditional to digital art, photography, graphic design, and specialized in the field of Film and Video not knowing that these are just stepping stones to become an aspiring artist/painter. As of now, his art focuses mainly on his own experiences and fantasies. He usually exhibits scenes of his own real life episodes translated into his own vivid world full of bizarre creatures.

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