Persona April, 8th 2021 by

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 310 - Santiago Ribeiro

santiago – 1

World Fine Art Professionals and their Key-Pieces, 310 – Santiago Ribeiro
Santiago Ribeiro explores the subject of human behavior in various scenarios. He uses the current of 21st-century surrealism with a lot of imagination, he says.
How did he end up with surrealism? Santiago: “It has always been a topic that I have debated since I realized or since I started socializing. This made me look at history and prehistory looking for answers.”

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Self-taught artist
Santiago Ribeiro was born in a little village close to Coimbra, Condeixa-a-Nova. He went to school in Coimbra and did his further studies there, including at the University of Coinbra and an Art & Craft study.

santiago – 3-

But basically he is a self-taught artist.  “Actually, I was only sixteen when I produced my first oil painting. Since then, painting became my profession and I started selling my paintings to make a living. I attended a couple of art schools but I dropped out because I enjoyed painting more than going to classes. It was difficult to coordinate school and work. Yet, although I was self-taught, I consider that attending art classes was very helpful to my artistic development.”

santiago – 4-

40 art books

As a child he was already drawing and painting. “I started painting as a child and continued experimenting mostly with primary colors. It all began after my father brought home a library of 40 art books with illustrations from the Middle Ages throughout the classics of the Renaissance to the masters of Impressionism and Surrealism and other contemporary modern artists. At the time, I couldn’t read the books but I was fascinated by the imagery. I remember being particularly captivated by the fantastic allegories of Hieronymus Bosch as well as the impressionist and surrealist art forms. Studying those illustrations was my first painting lesson because they inspired me to start painting on my own.”

santiago – 5-


He always was a surrealist painter, he thinks: “Surrealism draws from dreams, the imaginary and the subconscious. In other words, I was a surrealist painter before I realized what Surrealism was. I only became aware of Freud’s theories of dreams and Surrealism as an art form later in my career. This is to say that, like many other surrealist painters, Hieronymus Bosch included, I was creating surrealist imagery as a way of expressing myself not being aware of Surrealism as an art form.”

santiago – 6-

International Surrealism Now project

In 2010, Santiago Ribeiro founded the ‘International Surrealism Now’ project, a collective exhibitions series dedicated to showcasing Surrealism as an art form. Based in dreams and visions, Santiago’s surrealist imagery surprises, puzzles and triggers mixed feelings.  His paintings have been described as “complex compositions illustrating deep concerns about modern society and its individual and collective behavior.”

santiago – 7

He got the idea when he realized the power of the internet to communicate and connect with fellow artists and the public. “Through the internet, I found out we could organize projects collectively with local institutions and groups worldwide. We started working with local artists promoting inclusive group events open to diverse artistic expressions such as poetry, music, multimedia and dance events. Our first group initiative took place in 2008 when we organized an international collective exhibit at the Casa Museu Bissaya Barreto, in Coimbra. This event led to  broader initiatives and to the creation in 2010 of the ‘International Surrealism Now’ project.”

santiago – 8


Surrealism allows for absolute unlimited unrestrained freedom, he says. “Surrealist painters tend to absorbed all kinds of influences from all kinds of art forms. It also allows for individuality and diversity. Each one of us ends up developing our own unique style, creating original paintings that are truly distinctive. Like most surrealist painters, I have developed my own distinctive technique and style. Yet, because we all share common traits, we end up being labeled as  “surrealist” artists.

santiago – 9

Santiago Ribeiro is very successful. He has shows all over the world. For instance in the United States (Dallas, Los Angeles and Mississippi), Berlin, Moscow, Warsaw, Nantes, Paris, Madrid, Granada, Barcelona, Lisbon, Japan, Taiwan and Brasil.

santiago – 10

Rationality and feeling

Finally: surrealism is already a great philosophy, does he have a personal touch to add to that? Santiago Ribeiro: “I find it special to do my work in a combination of rationality and feeling. Art can only be felt and performed from person to person.”

Images: 1) The City of Slat, oil on canvas, 2) Surreal Mass production, oil on canvas, 3) Butterflies, oil on canvas, 4) Oil on canvas, 70cm x 50cm, 1997, 5) Orchestra, oil on canvas, 6) Levitate, oil on canvas, 7) Military Concentration Camp, oil on canvas, 100x900cm, 1990, 8) Humanity, oil on canvas, 100x80cm, 1997, 9) Neo, oil on canvas, 100×80 cm, 2001, 10) Another Dimension, oil on canvas, 100×80 cm, 20


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