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Finding the Ultimate Truth with Cesar Santos

April 5, 20182 Comments

I sit down with Cuban-American artist Cesar Santos to ask him about his journey as an artist and his thoughts about art in general. We get deep and he teaches me how to philosophize 😛

This interview includes a lot of questions, so for your convenience I’ve included a full list of timecodes to the questions below.

This is the final video of our series of collaborations with artists Cesar Santos. Check out our previous videos:

A tour of the sketchbooks of Cesar Santos
A trip to the museum with a master study
Sketching the master study from memory, blindfolded!
Go to Cesar Santos’ youtube channel to see all his videos from the collaboration.


2:23 – Who is Cesar Santos?
2:43 – What is a Magnet School?
3:21 – Which College did you go to?
3:42 – Why did you decide to drop out before you finished?
4:21 – How long did you study at the angel academy?
5:45 – How did you get to that first professional level so quickly?
6:38 – Did you go to a bunch of galleries or pick the one you wanted?
7:31 – What age are you when you got into your first gallery? Fill in the gap since then…
8:47 – Do you experiment with what your art represents
11:04 – Have you been studying with anybody?
12:24 – How did you study from the paintings at the museum?
14:14 – Why Cesar Santos has so many finished paintings in his sketchbook
15:37 – Did you study from books at all or go to museums? Were there any instructional books?
16:55 – What do you do today?
19:08 – How do you go against the grain of what other artists want from you?
19:59 – Are you talking about classically trained artists vs the artists that are doing modern stuff?
22:44 – Books and videos are an aspect of learning how to draw
23:34 – Did your art teachers ever go and paint on your paintings?
23:51 – Is that because that’s the best way actually learn it or because they didn’t want their style to influence your art?
24:13 – How many students were in a class?
25:17 – How long are the teacher critiques?
26:02 – Did the students critique you at all?
26:30 – How the Angel Academy critiques students now
27:10 – Is it good or bad that teachers fix their student’s mistakes by drawing on a student’s work?
30:00 When you were studying did you start painting early on and then draw or vice versa
32:16 – Stan’s own experience
33:56 – Cesar gives advice on how to learn art
34:35 – Stan and Cesar talk about 21 under 31 awards
35:42 – What do you think about art philosophy
36:20 – Instagram story (What’s the ultimate truth?)
39:11 – The importance of Syncretism
40:56 – Is there such a thing as cheating?
43:53 – Cesar’s tattoos
48:14 – Wrap it up time
48:32 – Favorite artist?
48:45 – Favorite artist you’ve studied
48:48 – Favorite subject to draw or paint
48:52 – Favorite Book
49:00 Is there a painting you’ve done that’s particularly memorable or important
49:29 Out of all the paintings you’ve sold is there one you wish you could get back
49:49 – What medium do you want to learn
51:21 – What question do you hope I ask you?
51:39 – What are you working on now and what can people expect to see from you in the future?
52:09 – Where do you see your art going in the next 10 years
53:16 – Where you can find Cesar Santos

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Comments (2)

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  1. Don Mutchler says:

    As a 53-year old letting the artistic side of my brain finally out of the dark (library science/eastern philosophy background), I find this discussion between Stan and Cesar amazingly refreshing. I am in a traditional university art program, and am often the point-man in arguing that “traditional” or classical art is the foundation for everything, especially modern art, and that to push students away from a more classical approach is to do a disservice to the student, if not art as a whole. Fortunately, the drawing program I am in (versus sculpture, printmaking, painting, etc.) leans a bit more towards classical, and our Friday open drawing w/live models is amazingly helpful to the half-dozen of us who show up. Anyway, I love Cesar’s approach to art, and Stan’s skills are what attracted me to the Proko website over a year ago, so keep doing what you guys do. Aside from making great art, you’re making a difference in people’s lives, even if one of those lives happens to be older than you 🙂

  2. Jenny says:

    This is a refreshing interview for many reasons. 1. I love seeing this interaction between two professionals, with humour and wit and professionalism. 2. I love learning about why people do what they do and how they get there. 3. I was so happy to hear Cesar say that when he was learning at one time, the teachers did not do his drawings for hime, the experience of fixing his mistakes helped to make him an amazing artist. At 61 I am pursuing my creative desire to draw and paint in a way that gives me creative freedom and pleasure. Recently in my first set of classes, the teacher took over my work to “show” me what he wanted me to do or learn. I understood what he wanted by seeing, but still could not do it in practice after he went away. This happened 3 lessons in a row until I found myself frozen not being able to put pencil to paper, feeling like I was wasting my time. Then I went home and gave myself a project, similar but different to what he showed and I did what I felt was beautiful. I felt proud and realised I need to experience it to own it and use it. When I went back to week 4, I wouldn’t let him touch my work and I moved forward. I loved hearing what Cesar said, because I felt confident that I can trust my instincts as a student. Thank you.

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