Born May 11, 1995 in Vienna, Virginia. His parents who immigrated from Guatemala and Bolivia exposed Santana to painting in a non-creative way while working in his father’s construction company in his early teen years. During the recession of 2008, him and his father would remove objects and furniture from foreclosed homes, then clean and paint the walls white, leaving no trace of its inhabitants. This was an emotional process for Santana but also gave him an awakening of value for material and life. Painting almost five houses a day, Santana began to realize the marks and stains, capturing movements of families who would live in the home prior to cleaning. Working with his father he learned the importance of aesthetics and functionality, he decided to pursue a more artistic practice and came to study at Columbia College Chicago in 2014.
Upon moving to Chicago he was surrounded by creatives from all different realms: musicians, filmmakers, photographers, street artists, all great influences. The community Santana found himself in allowed for him to gain knowledge of different methods of painting, and support in the local industry. Through Santana’s paintings, drawings, and mixed media artworks, we are taken on deconstructed journeys. American landscapes, personal life events and celestial imagery are composed through Santana’s ‘Micro-Collision’ of marks and mediums. The vast openness of the canvas gives the viewer a chance to see the paintings as a much bigger part of the surrounding space, colors are transforming, transmuting, unlocking the passage of reality to a dream world.
The minimal contents of his work makes us question if what Santana makes are paintings at all, it is puzzling and weird. There is an intriguing dark side but also formal precision. Roland Santana is a rainbow ranging from electric lime green to melancholic shades of purple and pink. He is luminous and dark. Today Roland Santana has gained the likes of several galleries and collectors and has participated in showcases in spaces such as Mana Contemporary, Chicago Art Department, Workshop 4200, Heaven Gallery, Chuquimarca Projects and more.