February 2, 2010

R. Samuel Santi

When R. Samuel Santi first came upon the Grants Pass art scene I knew right away that this widely traveled artist had finally found his way home, even if he himself was a bit skeptical of this at first. Maybe he still is, I don't know, but it's been nearly two years and he's still here.  Alas, he closed up his shop, OBJX, where he'd been selling an eclectic blend of art and antiques.  This was on 5th Street, in the thick of the Saturday Artisans, and Crafters' Market, and perhaps the closure was a good thing; he has since become a regular exhibitor along the "Starving Artists' Wall" and he now gets to mingle a bit more than when he was cooped up in the shop all day.

There are a few things in particular that especially impress me about Samuel and his artwork.  First and foremost, he does art for himself.  If other people happen to like it, that's fine by him (and certainly if they buy a piece or two!) but mostly he's just doing his own thing and digging it.  (Lately he's been experimenting with assemblages of found objects with a special emphasis on woods of unusual and/or interesting grains and textures, featuring minimalist painting with vibrant and emotive color palettes. Assuredly, Samuel knows color.)

The second thing I most admire about Samuel is his acute and profound awareness of the deeper goings on in the wide world of Art, and of the passion he shares with visionaries of all persuasions for the Next Big Thing -- the new aesthetic, whatever that should happen to be -- that which will define the art of tomorrow.  Penultimately humble, he's not so determined to be the actual Avatar of the NBT, or not so much as some local artists I could mention, but truthfully I wouldn't be surprised.  Indeed, he comes up with some very interesting stuff. I've never seen anything like it in my life!  How about you?

Anyhow, before OBJX closed its doors I was fortunate enough to be invited by Mr. Santi to tour the back hallways of the building, an interoffice corridor he'd been sharing with an art supply store, a hair salon, and Pharmacy Computing Services.  Several of his larger paintings were hanging there and, although it was a tight and narrow space, I managed to take a bunch of photographs (some at a view-crippling slant...) along with a few others in the front of the store, featuring its interesting collection of antiquities and objects of art.



More of R. Samuel Santi's paintings, sculptures, found art, and hybridizations thereof can be found in Grants Pass' Harper and Howell Gallery, where the artist himself may usually be found on the evenings of each First Friday Art Night

Harper and Howell Gallery, First Friday of November, 2007
Samuel on the left (in plaid) with
Peace in the right foreground (wearing black.)


©2007 www.johngranacki.com 


 If you're looking for Antiques in Grants Pass and Southern Oregon,
come to the Old Town Antique Mall, on 6th between H & I Streets!