For Cesar Santander, toys are so much more than just figures. To this photo realist artist, they are as intriguing as they are complex in subject matter.
Since the early 80's, when his first solo show of just toys sold out in days, Cesar Santander has gone on to create large scale paintings of some of the 20th century most iconic and memorable characters: Tom and Jerry, Beatrix Potter figures, and Felix the Cat to name a few.
It was over 20 years ago that the artist first painted Betty Boop, then part of a series of nostalgic character toys. The tin boxes, first painted in 1981, are another seriesSantander has turned his attention to once again as he believe they are 'a rich and original subject matter'
This show focuses on two of the many different series that Santander has been working on over the years: Betty Boop and Old Tin Boxes. The remainder of the paintings in the show represent the artist other major series: Disney characters, crayons and diner still-lifes.
'I like working in a series because it allows me to explore a subject much more fully than a single painting does'
Santander goes on to explain that although the subject matter may remain the same the scale, technique and implications in each work have evolved.
'Now I make more of the props that I use with the single character to enhance the painting. "Personal Values" was suggested by a toy mirror that seemed to go with a Magritte painting which was used in the background. "Personal Values II" puts Betty Boop into Magritte’s surrealistic room'
Having evolved his technique to include a final layer of oil paint over the acrylic paint, providing an extra layer of detail and color to capture the history of each piece, the finish product is one of eye popping vibrancy and intensity full of enticing nostalgia and original composition.