From BlackWhite magazine - issue 05, in the can
Artist Eduardo Santos’ abstract landscape paintings bridge outside worlds with those within.
Brazilian-born artist Eduardo Santos uses Resene products to create his breathtaking and emotional abstract landscape paintings. Behind him are two panels from his latest collection, Becoming Home (2022), which feature Resene Half White Pointer, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Half Resolution Blue, Resene Aviator, Resene Retro, Resene Decadence, Resene Nero and Resene Toffee.
A thirst for adventure, seeking beauty, chasing love, pursuing career opportunities or retracing the footsteps of our ancestors; the forces that pull us to faraway lands can take so many different shapes. And whether we only live somewhere for a few brief nights or find ourselves staying decades longer than we planned, the places we go leave an impression on us. Artist Eduardo Santos moved abroad in 1993, when he left behind his homeland of Brazil to go to school in London. “I didn’t have a ‘master plan’ but I trusted my instincts and followed my heart,” he says, looking back.
When Eduardo first began studying art, he was interested in a number of different mediums and disciplines. He completed foundational studies at Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London before specialising in Fashion Design, Illustration and Textiles at Istituto Europeo di Design in Madrid. “Creativity was always a part of my childhood, and it’s something that reveals itself over time. It was fashion design and illustration that came to me first, although I was always painting. But it’s all connected: cutting a pattern, illustrating, mixing paint across a canvas.”
Eduardo says he got his love of fashion from his grandmother and his interest in the alchemy of mixing paints came from his grandfather. “It took some time for me to realise how much my grandparents influenced me. My grandmother was a self-taught dressmaker and embroiderer and I grew up watching her cut and sew fabrics as I listened to her tales. My grandfather, who was an indigenous Amazonian, was a raw clay artist and built their first home out of mud – in a way similar to the rammed earth method – as well as making pottery for cooking.”
Moving to the other side of the world and seeing landscapes that differed so much from those that surrounded him growing up ignited a love for travel, exploring new lands and the earth itself. “I lived between London and Madrid for a time, working in fashion, and then moved to Ibiza in my early 30s. Ibiza has a very special energy, and this is when I began to explore painting more seriously.”
In 2009, life brought Eduardo to Sydney. “I started a business in Ibiza designing swimwear that I had made in Brazil. When the financial crisis happened in Europe, my Australian friend Jason Mowen suggested moving to Sydney as he thought the crisis would not be as severe there as it was going to be in Spain. We’d already started a successful business together: a men’s clothing shop in Covent Garden, together with another friend, Narciso Hernandez. And I already knew and loved Australia. Jason opened a shop in Redfern in 2010 and it was the first place I was able to showcase my paintings.”
He and Jason first met at a party in London in 1996 and Eduardo says they have been family ever since. While the ways they work together have changed as each of their careers have taken form, there is still a collaborative element. “We often travel together, and it’s usually when we’re travelling that we come up with ideas – both for my painting and his writing. It’s not a formal collaboration, but a sharing. We bounce a lot of ideas off one another.”
Becoming Home 19a (2022) by Eduardo Santos features Resene Half White Pointer, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Stingray, Resene Triple Friar Greystone, Resene Alamo, Resene Coral, Resene Metallic Copper, Resene Gold Dust, Resene Cargo, Resene Toffee, Resene Nero, Resene Milk Chocolate and Resene Dusted Grey. Eduardo uses Resene Sandtex textured coating to add earthy dimension to his painting and Resene SpaceCote Flat waterborne enamel for his colour coats. Once complete, his paintings are sealed in Resene Concrete Clear gloss, chosen for its protective and anti-yellowing qualities.
Becoming Home 06 (2022) by Eduardo Santos was created with Resene SpaceCote Flat waterborne enamel tinted to Resene Half White Pointer, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Half Resolution Blue, Resene Aviator, Resene Retro, Resene Decadence, Resene Sante Fe and Resene Nero layered with Resene Sandtex textured coating and sealed with Resene Concrete Clear gloss waterborne glaze.
“Jason inspired me to start a new life here, but I’ve stayed in Australia because I love it. Of all the places I’ve lived around the world, Australia is the one that reminds me most of Brazil. As a country, it works and is organised and it feels safe. I consider myself very lucky to be here.”
As Eduardo’s work has developed, he has been most drawn to painting landscapes because of their connection to the earth and nature. During his travels, he has seen some spectacularly inspiring vistas, but he singled out the ones he witnessed in northern Africa. “There have been so many inspiring landscapes, but I think my favourites have been Egypt and Morocco. However, I haven’t made it to The Outback yet so I think it too will become a favourite.”
Sometimes Eduardo’s paintings are abstract expressions of places he’s been, other times they are introspective and offer the viewer a snapshot of the emotional world within. While his process for coming up with new bodies of work can differ, Eduardo says he has been most inspired lately by the signs and symbols of mythology and ancient cultures. “On a recent trip to southern Italy, I was moved by the fragments of fresco and mosaic and the shapes of all the damage and repairs and patches that had been made over time. I found them so poetic and beautiful and have had them in my mind as I’ve been working lately.”
Eduardo uses Resene SpaceCote Flat and Resene Sandtex to colour and texture his works. “I started using Resene in 2010. While I could probably use other brands of paint, they wouldn’t have the same quality – of pigment, texture, everything. And when you’re working with paint almost every day, it makes a massive difference. I love that Resene SpaceCote Flat is low in odour and VOCs, which makes it really pleasant to work with. It also has a lovely texture. I use a lot of water when I paint, and the pigments the Resene paints release are stunningly beautiful. I love Resene Sandtex as well, as it gives the feeling of unglazed ceramic – which adds a lot to the depth and texture to my work. I also use Resene Concrete Clear gloss, a brilliant varnish that doesn’t yellow over time.”
His most recent collection, Becoming Home (2022), stemmed in part from a period of personal turmoil and forging a path towards recovering his spiritual equilibrium. “A sequence of emotional events guided me towards a healing process that has allowed me to create the space my soul needs for peace,” Eduardo says. “I feel that there has been a rebirth within my practice; what was previously concealed beneath a more organic layer in my earlier work has now come to the fore, as if from the inside”, he explains. These feelings revealed themselves through bold blues, stormy greys and dirtied whites with hints of earthy clay. Resene Half Resolution Blue, Resene Aviator, Resene Decadence, Resene Triple Friar Greystone, Resene Half White Pointer, Resene Rice Cake, Resene Sante Fe and Resene Alamo feature prominently across the collection.
Now, Eduardo is working on a new series that is just beginning to take shape. He says the theme will make itself known later as the connections between each piece become apparent. “Colour is my starting point. The rest emerges on the canvas, sometimes quickly and sometimes very slowly.”
So far, this new series feels more optimistic – which is where Eduardo says he is at in his life at the moment. “There is also an idea of past layers and positive and negative space in the fragments of fresco and mosaic.”
If Eduardo feels his creativity stagnate, he moves on to a fresh canvas or takes a day off. “It’s really important to step away from the work from time to time,” he stresses. Because if there is anything he has learnt in his career so far, it’s that there is nothing like a change of pace – or a change of place – to shake things up.
“I’m currently drawn to Resene’s earth tones, and there are so many beautiful colours. Here is a selection that I’m using in this year’s series:”
Resene Rice Cake, Resene Coral, Resene Alamo, Resene Pendragon, Resene Sante Fe, Resene Toffee, Resene Hot August, Resene Pioneer Red, Resene Dusted Grey, Resene Cargo, Resene Friar Greystone, Resene Highball, Resene Half Resolution Blue, Resene Deep Koamaru, Resene Aviator, Resene Stingray, Resene Milk Chocolate, and Resene Nero.
› To see more of Eduardo’s work, visit www.eduardosantosartist.com.
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