fpac member

Jose Santos

300 Summer St. # 78
617 350 7914

The SittingMy Portuguese-American ethnicity has been a source of inspiration since I graduated in 1986 from Massachusetts College of Art with a BFA in Illustration. As a child and teenager, I was raised in the tight-knit Portuguese-American community of Ludlow, Massachusetts, spoke only Portuguese at home, and was influenced by the traditions that my parents brought from Portugal when they immigrated to the United States in the 1950s. For me, art is autobiographical and no matter where my explorations take me as an artist, they are always firmly grounded in my cultural roots.

This has taken many different forms over the past ten years. At first, focusing on my ethnicity translated into realistic paintings of the people and places of my culture. Although this work was once exciting to me, when I look back at it now I feel it was narrowing my self expression. By painting realistically, I had begun to stereotype my culture, creating images that I thought others would like to see. More recently, my visual representations of my ethnicity have been less literal, less concrete, but the ethnic influence is always there, in the symbols, colors and materials, and in the process of creating the artwork itself. The process of creation has become more intrinsic rather than extrinsic.