CMA Stories

“There is an intuitive way of making that is especially present when we are children” — 5 Minutes with Artist Curtis Talwst Santiago

On Friday, February 26, Club CMA with Raquel celebrates the art of Curtis Talwst Santiagoa Canadian-Trinidadian artist who creates artwork that focuses on “genetic imagination,” or the ability to access generational knowledge through imaginative recollection and projection. With Santiago’s artwork as inspiration, participants will celebrate important figures from their past by sketching family heirlooms and portraits. Read below to learn more about Curtis and click here to sign up for this free workshop.

A moment of reflection and self care, 2018

Can you tell us about your art practice and how working with children inspires you?

I am a multidisciplinary artist working in sculpture, painting, drawing, performance — whatever my heart desires. Working with children inspires me because they don’t put labels on what they create or how they create. There is an intuitive way of making, that we are all born with, that is especially present when we are children.

Your ongoing series of miniature dioramas in reclaimed ring boxes highlight absent or misinterpreted narratives. What are the challenges and delights of working on such a small scale?

A significant challenge is finding enough boxes and having enough time to tell all the stories floating around in my head. One of the considerable delights is that the process is never dull. Each time I sit down to create, it’s an experiment.

The apprentice, the fish the cat the crow, and the oranges, 2018

Do you have a favourite memory of making art as a child?

One of my favourite memories is sitting at the kitchen table with my big brother, who is older than me by ten years, looking through his big art books — Rembrandt, Basquiat — and drawing with him and learning, and him and his encouragement and excitement in my curiosity.

What advice would you give to young artists who wish to pursue an art practice?

Have fun, experiment. It’s okay if trying something new is hard. Just keep going!

Artist as Knight (self portrait), 2018

Why is it important to make art accessible to all children and families?

When you’re a kid and even for some adults, you can have a lot of big feelings, but you don’t have the words yet, or may never have the words, or a way of understanding those feelings. The way of communicating, a way of releasing the things that one can’t say. A way of imagining and dreaming of the things that one might desire.

Top Image: Curtis Talwst Santiago, Christmas in Durban, 2017

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