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Artist in Focus | Santiago Covarrubias

Behold a Pale Horse, 2021

Introducing Santiago Covarrubias, El Paso, Texas Artist


About the Artist:

My name is Santiago Covarrubias and I'm an analog collage artist based out of El Paso, TX. I'm completely self taught, I've just learned along the way making what I used to call mistakes but really they were acts of artistic exploration. There really aren't many mistakes in this medium, blade scratches, paper tears and folds are all details I compare to being able to see brush strokes on a painting.

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Untitled, Studio Shot, Process Pic

Art is something I've enjoyed for as long as I can remember, however I didn't get into collage until about 2006. I stumbled upon a few modern day geniuses in a single day, that I consider the turning point for me creatively: Andy Dixon, Eduardo Recife, and Thomas Schostok {THS}, and Antitext. It was some incredible art, messy, distressed, worn out, creative use of font and text. Cut out and repurposed imagery. I was mesmerized, I hadn't seen anything like that before. I immediately got to work on something using some newspapers and it took off from there.

Soul Harvest, 2021

For a few years I focused on digital collage while paper collage took a backseat. Digital just worked more for me, I was making flyers and merch designs for small musicians working out of Myspace. There I connected with a lot of other similarly minded artists such as Niko Vartiainen. Slowly I began to leave digital behind and focus on handmade paper art predominantly. I enjoy the look and feel of physical paper, I love the challenge of it and taking it as far as I can.

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Top Panel - Fictional Places, 2021 / Challenging Trip, 2021 / Untitled, 2021

Bottom Panel - Untitled, 2021 / Astral Sight, 2014 / Ascension, 2015

My style has been slowly evolving into what it is now. I use images of space and science mixed with religious imagery, the occult, obscure encyclopedias and booklets. I use heavy layering and once I find I can add excruciating detail to a piece, I end up finding even more that can be done. I don't force it, I just let go and see where creativity guides me. This style is very different from what I was doing 10 years ago and will look much different 5 years from now. I already see it taking more of a psychedelic route, so we'll all get to see how it evolves further. If I can inspire someone with one of the scenes I lay out, I'm glad. However, I have to say, I'm just having fun and the art I do is a challenge to myself, by myself. I challenged myself to make a scene depicting a possession so I did, I wanted to depict the Angel of Death being summoned so I did. It's very therapeutic, and I plan on continuing until I can't any longer.

These Mortals, 2021


Q & A with the artist:

DA: You like to use occult imagery and religious iconography in your collages. Can you tell us what draws you to these themes? What influences shaped your aesthetic?

SC: Religious iconography has been a staple in my life for as long as I can remember. I love passionate religious imagery along with the mythology aspect of it and I'm saying this as a non-believer. I'm Hispanic, we had Catholic imagery spread throughout the home. On the calendars, the candles, the decorations, the books we read, the art and culture around us. It continues to be a constant theme I include subconsciously. I essentially don't plan out what I'm going to do, I just start and have multiple realizations throughout the sessions that aesthetically shape the piece of work I'm currently creating.

DA: You talked about weaning yourself off of digital and you now, predominantly, work in analogue. What was the catalyst for this? What's your thoughts on the cut&paste vs digital debate?

SC: I have nothing against digital whatsoever, it's a valid and respectable form of collage. I really loved working digitally, it's an entirely different animal than analog. I simply had done it for too many years and felt like I had been in a complete creative rut. Moving to working exclusively with paper was what I needed creatively and I just haven't gone back. I would like to mess around with digital work again in the future, maybe do a mix? The possibilities are endless and exciting.

DA: What's in store for the remaining of 2022? Any big projects or plans that you would like to share with your fans?

SC: I'm finally going to get prints of my works made. I simply didn't have the money for it but I feel like this year I'll be able to achieve this. I want to work on more handmade collage books this year and definitely do more collabs. I also would like to be part of more group shows and a possible solo show. We'll see how it goes, it feels like it's going to be a really exciting year. After several years I finally decided to start sharing my art online and it's gone so well for me in many ways. I've made a ton of connections, have been invited to display at group exhibitions, have made some sales, and have started building a following, all under a year. These are all things I never imagined doing back when I made my first awful collage piece in 2009. I did it for fun then and I continue to do it for fun now.


Check out Santiago's tune recommendation Eternal Now by LSDREAM. Enjoy!

Etsy | DLEcollage


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