Nelson Host Santiago is a visual Artist working and residing in New York City. He was born in Spanish Harlem but was raised in the Bronx. He comes from a Puerto Rican background and loves and admires his roots. Nelson is recently married and has grown kids but he and his wife are raising two little ones that bring much joy to their family unit. Nelson Host Santiago is a family man with sound roots and strong family values, he believes family is important and needs to be nourished and taken with a touch of joy. He has a funny sense of humor,always posting something positive upon his face book feed. He enjoys looking at the brighter side of life.
Nelson Host Santiago attended Wallkill Senior High School and from there he attended the Bronx Community College. Nelson is strongly integrated the art community and works diligently every day in creating and learning on his craft. His artistic endeavor began at the tender age of 4. It was then that he realized how much he enjoyed paint, acrylics, oils, sprays and paint markers, just basically anything he could get his hands on. Nelson grew up in a house of 7 brothers and sisters. But he was the only one who liked art or painted. He remembers asking his parents if anyone else in his family painted or drew, that’s when he knew he was the only one with this wonderful talent and yearning. He never took a class or went to a art school, it all comes from a natural talent that he has cultivated.
Nelson Host Santiago doesn’t consider his artwork too serious, although at one point in his career he did paint about serious issues. He especially wanted to express his voice pertaining to the debt issue and status that Puerto Rico is facing. He focused his work to portray a view to the crime rate because he was saddened by the statistics, being that in 2011 the murder rate in Puerto Rico was higher than New York City & Chicago combined. For Nelson it was very important to bring awareness to those and many more issues. In one of his works he painted a frantic woman laying on top of 1,136 bullets, this was done in order to show the audience a dramatic view of the number of people killed in Puerto Rico. Statistically speaking In 2011, 70% of those were crimes committed due to gun violence, and so he felt it was important to bring awareness to this type of problems. On the lighter side of his work, he considers it to be a mix of Urban, Comic book Graffiti style and caricatures.
Nelson Host Santiago’s artistic process consists of first making a pencil sketch on a canvas. He likes to freehand his sketch although he has used references in the past. He is not big on depending on visuals like photos and models, in fact in his creative process he allows his work to be freehand and limitless. Nelson loves mixing mediums, he never shy’s away from any specific medium. He currently is working with acrylics, oils and spray paint. Nelson Host Santiago also performs in front of a live audience, those types of events are essentially important because they allow him to work in a eureka way of creating. He believes it brings a special effect to the table and thus brings forth a more interesting piece, one that often leaves him with a sense of complete satisfaction.
I asked Nelson Host Santiago the magic question: “How do you get out of an artist slump? and his Answer was a simple and honest one, Nelson stated: ” Well I’m a mood painter, I have never been one to make or push myself to paint”. He finds with living a busy life full of important responsibilities, it is essentially important to take time for creating. There’s nothing better than making that time to sit in front of the easel and painting. He quickly states: “No encouragement needed”. Nelson believes to be different from other artist because he tries to paint original subjects. He often finds that many artists remake originals that have been reproduced over and over like “Tupac” or “Biggie”, “Frida” or Dali. He simply states: “I don’t want to do that”.
When asked: “what do you wish to relate with your work towards the audience?”
He stated: “I put my work out there and let the viewer decide what they get out of it, what I get out of my work might not necessarily be the same for others as it is for me”.
Nelson Host Santiago’s biggest and most important influences have been his Mom & Dad. Artistically speaking, his biggest influences are his friends William Green & TATS Cru. Nelson is a big fan of the MOMA and loves to visit. He states: “Maybe when I’m dead they will display some of my work there!”. Aside from the MOMA, Nelson loves visiting new galleries and exploring new ideas and talent. He believes the “Phantom Audio gallery” is one very cool spot to create and to network. Nelson Host Santiago has exhibit his work in quite a few galleries and art shows, his most recent exhibit was at “The Point” gallery located in the Bronx.
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