Justin Santora


Sometimes the Uncertainty of Everything Can Really Scare Me, 2011, 6 screens on Cougar cover, 24 x 18 in. 

Brouwerij West, 2011, 5 screens on Cougar cover, 18 x 24 in.

Lallapalooza aftershow at Schubas, 2011, 4 screens on Cougar cover, 18 x 24 in.

Gene Ween, 2011, 4 screens on Cougar cover, 18 x 24 in.

Riding into the Wind Without Looking Back, 2011, 4 screens on Cougar cover, 18 x 24 in.

Riding into Wind Without Looking Back (detail)

Lallapalooza aftershow at Lincoln Hall, 2011, 4 screens on Cougar cover, 18 x 24 in.

Iron and Wine

Wait For Me, Abby Bernstien (blue), 2012, 5 screens on Cougar natural cover, 18 x 24 in.

Spring is Here, 2012, 9 screens on Cougar natural cover, 18 x 24 in.

Artist Statement

I am drawn to the concept and process of constructing something from the ground up, from physical structures to entire subcultures. Being in my mid twenties, I have been teetering somewhat comfortably between resisting certain conventions of adulthood and the struggle to carve out some modest piece of this world. I am using themes of construction and disassembly to relate my pursuit for security and my desire for autonomy, two things that seem to regularly be put at odds with one another.

Furthermore, I depict physical construction partially as a metaphor for the creation of a community or subculture. In the instances of punk rock and skateboarding, the twin pillars of my adolescence, these subcultures were built up and became forces greater than—but controlled by—their participants, forming niches for those of us who seemingly had been pushing square pegs into round holes. More importantly, they were formed in part through a kind of sociocultural appropriation, showing that structures put in place to satisfy order and subordination can be repossessed, dismantled, altered, and refocused. The prevailing culture can be reassembled and used as a means to undermine itself.

This work is largely about making something of one’s own, whatever that something happens to be. As we grow up, we are routinely compelled to act against our own best interests, and there will always exist a need for something entirely of our own that we can control.

About The Aritst

When you ride a train back to your hometown, you look out across the vast scenery – into a sky that seems to stand still in its endless blue while the trees and the scattered towns and the telephone wires rush by like a movie reel. In the middle of the country, far away from the bustling city and the boiling traffic is a plain white house with one giant tree and one tiny swing in the yard. The house looks empty and the only car there is a broken-down and rusty one but the swing is swaying in the breeze. And as you pass that yard and the swing and come upon row after row of subdivided neighborhoods with houses that all look exactly the same with the same car in each drive-way and their drivers all leaving at the same time going to virtually the same place – you are still being haunted by that swing.

When I look at Justin Santora’s work, I not only see that swing, but I see the child that once swayed in it. Justin’s prints and illustrations are complex in process and thought but simple in beauty. The ideas of innocence and the loss there-of, the weaving memories that shape our lives, and the longing of someone who is outside looking in are all prevalent in the composition of Justin’s work. The nostalgia of childhood that lingers on into our adult lives and the paths of daydreams we want to lose ourselves in are inherent in his art. The starkness of the landscapes and the muted panes of color form an emotional bond with the subject matter of the pieces through the painstakingly detailed fine lines and scratchings of the drawings themselves. Based out of Northern Illinois, Justin’s amazing work stands out as a monument to all of our wishes even in the face of our sometimes daunting reality. – Erin Armstrong, Kill Hatsumomo Prints/Screwball Press

Justin Santora’s Website

Justin Santora’s Blog

Justin Santora’s Interview

Thanks to IPAINTMYMIND for finding this artist!