Kristof Santy does not consider himself to be a storyteller. Instead, he lets his artworks take the lead as he becomes submissive to the subject itself. He is inspired by his immediate surroundings, creating colourful and vibrant images that remain familiar.
Kristof Santy does not consider himself to be a storyteller. Instead, he lets his artworks take the lead as he becomes submissive to the subject itself. He is inspired by his immediate surroundings, creating colourful and vibrant images that remain familiar. When Santy was young, he became fascinated by drawing, but could not pursue a career in art and went on to work in a factory instead. While employed as a factory worker, he would constantly daydream about painting. During the first years of his practice, Santy searched for a distinctive visual language to express himself and began to explore different styles and subjects. He began by creating a series of family portraits and self-portraits, while also making studies of people working in technical environments
Particularly influenced by what has come before him, Santy’s studio is piled high with artbooks on celebrated painters and 19th century unknown artists. The specific discovery of works by Philip Guston and Jean Brusselmans had a profound influence on Santy’s own work as he began to find enormous freedom in the expressive painting of typically mundane and everyday subjects. Subsequently, Santy discovered his own individual way of painting, producing his first figurative works and still lives. The artist states, “I love to say that I invent nothing, I just rediscover”.
Santy collects all sorts of folk art that fills his eclectic house and studio that has become a cabinet of curiosities. Similar to his house, his large-scale paintings have become an ode to a visual tradition that has fallen into oblivion. Thematically ranging from classical portraiture to kaleidoscopic abstract compositions, Santy’s artistic practice covers a multitude of enigmatic imagery often populated by interiors, still lives, landscapes, gastronomy and folklore tales. Rendered in bright and vivid palettes, his works possess a joyous and playful quality.
Kristof Santy in the studio, 2021
About Kristof Santy
Born in 1987, Kristof Santy is a Roeselare based painter who is inspired by folk tales and customs. He presents figurative work based on mythological stories and stylized still lives, naively approaching observations from his immediate environment. He refers to artists such as Philip Guston, Jean Brusselmans, Domenico Gnoli and Konrad Klapheck, but also immerses himself in popular prints by anonymous artists. In 2021 Santy had his debut solo exhibition titled Nijverheid with Thomas Serruys Gallery, in Bruges, Belgium. Also in 2021, Santy presented his Platform solo exhibition with Unit London.