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Sandro Sebastian

Oil and Acrylic on Canvas



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San Diego
Oil and Acrylic on Canvas
Artists Statement
Sandro Sebastian
Artist Statement
These oil caricatures are imagined scenarios and imagined people. The solitary figures sit front and center in the scene, but their human presence in the composition doesn’t assert itself much more than any of the still life objects I surround them with. It is almost as though the person is treated as a still life object. They are predominantly shown from the waist up, and noticeably posing for the picture. They are pensive, and content in their solitude, with a sense of elegance. Since these characters come from inside my head, they can’t help but reflect an inner quality of myself, though without becoming a literal self portrait. These reserved figures are not as casual or social as the characters in the group shots.
The group shots are people who also inhabit imagined times and places, interacting comfortably and unaware that they are being looked at. Their backs may be turned to each other in certain scenes, and though the figures may occupy the same physical space, they maintain a psychological distance from one another, ironically unaware that their individual postures and demeanors radiate a collective ambience.
Always dreaming of a career in animation and comic books, Sebastian didn’t discover the great masters until his third year of college as an undergrad. Having spent 2 years at Cal State University Channel Islands, (a newly opened school not 6 years old when he was accepted) he transferred to Cal State University Sacramento, looking for a more established and developed Art program in which to major. It was there, on the third floor of the Sac State library, he encountered books of reproductions by Caravaggio, Velazquez, Sandro Botticelli, Vermeer, and all other Baroque and Renaissance masters.
This is where “Sebastian” became: “Sandro Sebastian.”
All of a sudden a new world opened up and he began furiously copying these works, trying to learn to not take that masterful technique for granted, and the results encouraged him to pursue painting full time, almost forgetting about comic books and animation.
It was after a few years of trying to get paid work as a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist, while working manual labor jobs in warehouses, construction sites and on film sets (working with the Art Department) little Sandro decided to apply to graduate school for art. He sent off his portfolio of invented characters in storybook settings, rendered in oil with noticeably “Baroque influenced” atmospheres to several schools and was rewarded with the top scholarship for the Graduate Fine Arts MFA program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
After relocating, however, Sandro soon found the academic environment to be a mixed bag of positive and negative influences, so to relieve anxiety, he began making weekly trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. With sketchbook in hand, it was there that he discovered a treasure trove of works outside the western tradition, and copied in person the wall reliefs of Ancient Egypt, the tribal sculptures and figurines of Africa, and the elegant Chinese landscapes on display at the Met. A whole new realm opened up yet again, seeing the artistic perspective of non-Eurocentric cultures that pre-date the Renaissance and, dare I say, surpass it in many respects.

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