A retrospective exhibit in all mediums of this successful
commercial artist's work is now at the Creative Art Center in
"I had just started at a new school in fourth grade and was the
new kid from East L.A.," Santillan said. "I said I was an artist and
from then on the teacher gave me art projects to do all the time."
He said he did not understand then that he was being nurtured
throughout all his years in school toward a career that would span a
"For me, art was just something I did," Santillan said. "My
grandfather was an inventor, and on my mom's side of the family,
everyone was musicians and artists, so I think I was destined whether
I knew it or not."
While in high school, he was awarded scholarships to attend
weekend classes at Cal State L.A. and the Pasadena Art Center -- his
first formal art training.
"I had an art teacher who was really positive and really
encouraged me to develop my work," Santillan said. "I ended up
getting another scholarship and went on to L.A. Trade Tech, where I
took commercial art and got my associate of arts degree."
Some of his commercial works will be familiar to many for his
digital and traditional background artistry work on the "Lion King 1
1/2 ," "Winnie the Pooh Heffalump," "Lilo and Stitch" direct to video
and "Brandy and Mr. Wiskers" TV animation.
His work as an in-house illustrator for a design studio in Orange
County includes clients such as Buena Vista Home Video, Disney
Interactive, Hunt-Wesson and others.
Even though Santillan admits it was a bit of a scramble juggling
his time between his freelance work, commuting to his job at Interior
Systems Inc., in Santa Fe Springs and finishing pieces for this show,
you will not find any hurried strokes either by brush, pencil or
charcoal because the intricacies of each piece is very obvious when
you see the details.
In his figurative sketches, which are done in charcoal on very
fine Japanese rice paper, the provocative innocence and playful
nature of his subjects are evident.
"I really like the female figure, and it's one of my personal
favorites to draw, but because there is no erasing on Japanese rice