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Meet T. Jay Santa Ana

Today we’d like to introduce you to T. Jay Santa Ana.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
Every now and then I imagine a one-year-old T. Jay Santa Ana donned in yellow, held in the arms of his godmother, his ninang, walking through crowds of protesters and demonstrations in the streets of Manila, Philippines. To think that this color, this yellow, would weave its way through history from one continent to another in the form of a story and visual narration, is something I am utterly fascinated with as an adult now living in San Diego, California.

This line, this trajectory that carries the weight of family and memory, has been the foundation of all of my artistic endeavors since I painted a blue jacaranda tree in oil pastel after watching “What Dreams May Come” (my grandmother wondered why I hadn’t painted Sampaguita instead). Since then I’ve toyed with ideas of becoming a journalist, a writer, a poet, a teacher, a graphic designer, an illustrator, and more recently a practicing abstract artist who introduces himself as a gay Filipino Scorpio INFJ. The latter has proven more effective these days, especially in terms of my own story-telling.

Please tell us about your art.
I’m an abstract expressionist exploring my identity in themes that deal with time, space, and line. I have a fascination with memory and nostalgia and a proclivity for depicting movement and vibration in my compositions. I’m creating a body of work that can move through time and space using nostalgia as a vehicle by which I navigate the visual terrain. The work I create is always the culmination of who I was, who I am, and where I’ve been –time and space overlapping above the trajectory of my life, entwined with the lives of my family and our movements from one place to another. It also acts as a catalyst for viewers to remember their own story, to be inspired and informed by their own history while viewing someone else’s. My work is a visual narration of the forward motion of lines that began long before my brushes ever touched the canvas.

Given everything that is going on in the world today, do you think the role of artists has changed? How do local, national or international events and issues affect your art?
I don’t think that the role of artists has necessarily changed, but the proliferation of art as a whole has increased almost exponentially (via social media predominantly), which is neither good nor bad, it just is. In that regard, my awareness of events happening on a larger scale than what my own bubble allows has also increased, but in true INFJ fashion, I process a lot of what’s happening in the world internally, which manifests into artwork. The colors are highly indicative, reflective, even, of what’s happening with my own energy and what my various chakras (energy points) are experiencing at that time. The art acts as catharsis for how the world affects me personally, whether it’s news of a cathedral burning halfway across the world or something my boyfriend said to me the other day.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
Most recently I completed my first outdoor mural in Barrio Logan (off of National Avenue and S. 26th Street), entitled “Synthesis and Celebration.” In addition to this public piece, I am also active on Instagram (@tjaysantaana) where I post my latest works and products for sale. My digital storefront and portfolio are also viewable online at People can support my work by following along with my process or purchasing items either at my site or through direct message inquiries.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
T. Jay Santa Ana

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