Born in 1953 - United States
For sculptor/ painter/ photographer Roberto Santo, art became a way of life when, at age16, he embarked upon an apprenticeship with Bob Peak, the celebrated illustrator… and his father (Santo was his mother’s maiden name). Any illusions he may have had about not following in his sire’s footsteps were dispelled as he embraced his innate talent. He went on to hone it in his native city, at New York’s Art Students League and The New School of Art. Santo subsequently attended the University of Oregon, earning a prestigious Bachelor of Fine Arts degree. He then continued his studies at Los Angeles’ Art Center College of Design.
It was in Los Angeles that he began his professional artistic life, delving into filmmaking. Intrigued by the visceral effect the film medium has, on people from all walks of life, Santo adapted his keen eye for arresting design, and his instinctive sense of structural balance, to a career in the motion picture business, creating trailers and spectacular photographic marketing campaigns. In collaboration with Hollywood legends such as Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Bob Zemeckis, Santo was associated with more than 200 films, including the blockbusters Apocalypse Now, Superman, Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
He focused his talents on photography, developing a successful commercial and fine art practice. His “Flower Series,” commissioned by the United States Post Office during this period of his artistic life, remains among the top selling stamp issues in history.
By the early 90s, Santo began to realize his current “modern Renaissance man” reputation, as his attention shifted to painting and then sculpture. In 1996, he moved his family to Italy, first to Florence and then to Chianti. Two years later, they moved to the Italian medieval village of Pietrasanta on Tuscany’s northern coast, a town that has nurtured artists since the late 15th century when Michelangelo began utilizing the marble from its neighboring quarries.
In the tradition of the great artists of the Renaissance, Santo is passionate about the human form.
Like Michelangelo and Bernini, he has devoted himself to its exploration in bronze and marble, often working in monumental size. Embracing the time-honored tradition of figurative sculpture, Santo believes that his art celebrates the past while allowing it to transcend into the present. His approach is unique, as he often leaves evidence of the actual casting process in his finished work. He insists on hand- crafting every piece, while so many other artists of his caliber depend on a corps of assistants.
His “time-transcending” work has been internationally recognized and heralded. In the nearly 40 years since beginning his creative journey, Santo has been awarded more than 50 internationally recognized citations. He has been a featured speaker at the American Photography Society, and has also acted as creative director of the film/ media school Full Sail, and its associate production company Platinum Post.
He has garnered commissions from major corporations including Microsoft, Nike, Toys “R” Us, Wells Fargo and Paramount Pictures, and has become the core of many private collections. Most recently, the Boca Raton Museum’s Acquisition Committee voted to purchase Santo’s monumental work “Eternal Transition” for its permanent collection. Santo’s work is collected in over 15 museums and sculpture parks in the United States and internationally.
Roberto Santo’s work has been added to the permanent collection of both the Copelouzos Family Museum in Athens, Greece and the Sprengel Museum in Hannover, Germany. Santo also is part of the elite family of historical monumental sculptures in Italy, his Torso 175 was erected as a monument on the rotunda Via di’ Unita in the city of Pietrasanta in 2007.
In the fall of 2012 Santo had the largest solo show of the year sponsored by the region of Sicily and Italy’s Cultural Ministry, in the “ Villa Casale” in consortium with the Musei Sicilia Piazza Armenia. Mr. Santo had over 35 monumental sculptures on display for the months of September thru November.
Wellls Fargo Performing Art Center, in Santa Rosa has commissioned 2- 18 foot canvases, of Roberto’s Spring Load Series, that are displayed in the center’s new lobby.
Other paintings from this series are on display at the center.
Santo continues his work with “The Cloister at St. Patrick’s in Alaska”, where he has been commissioned as the artistic director and solo artist responsible to create all works of art for the cloister, including sculpture, mosaics and stain glass features. The first of the sculptures, “Our Lady of Grace”, and” Madonna and Child” have been completed. Currently Roberto has created his own version of the “Pieta” and is currently designing the 150 foot stain glass window of “Heaven’s Light” which will be the largest stain glass window ever made.
In 2015 Santo will have 2 monumental sculptures installed in the Atlanta, Georgia Contemporary Museum “Museum Walk Sculpture Garden”. This is the first acquisition for the Museum’s sculpture garden, opening in Spring of 2015.
The commune of Taormina, Sicily and Regione of Catania in 2015 will be hosting a retrospective of Roberto’s art including sculptures, paintings and drawings, in the “Castle Corvo”, the summer of 2015.
Roberto Santo currently has a studio in the Sonoma County wine country, where he divides his time between both studios in Italy and California.
- Art Commissions and Private Collections
City of Winter Park, Florida – “Spirit of Giving Fountain”
Florida Film Festival
L.A. Olympic Games Committee
Toys r Us
University of Leicester, Botanical Garden
Comune di Pietrasanta, Italy
- Selected Awards 1981-2003
1981 American Photography; Gold Medal, “Figurative Study”
1985 Graphis Nude Photography; “Birth”
1986 Kodak International Exhibit; Gold Medal
1987 Addy Photography ; Gold Medal; “Portrait Series”
1992 Communication Arts; Gold Medal; “Still Life”
1993 Florida Film Festival; short film; “Film is Art”
1997 Addy 30 second commercial; Gold Medal, “YMCA of America”
1999 United States Postal Stamp Commission; Fine art photography; “Flower Series”
2000 Albin Polasek Sculptural Museum; “Artist in Residence”
2003 United States Olympic Committe; Sculpture; “Flight of Victory”
2004 American International Artist Assoc. “Forbidden Fruit”
2005 “La Salon” Figurative competition; “Forbidden Fruit”
- Selected Shows
1997 Kodak International Gallery, New York, New York
1998 Los Angeles Art Expo, Los Angeles, California
Harrods Fine Art, London, England
New York Art Expo, New York, New York
London Art Expo, London England
1999 O’Day Gallery, Seattle, Washington
2000 Polasek Museum, Winter Park, Florida
2001 Dante Vecciato Gallery, Forte dei Marme, Italy
2003 University of Leicester, Leicester, England
2004 Gasiunasen Gallery, Palm Beach, Florida
2006 Palm Beach Biennale, Premier Presenter
Oisterwijk Sculpture 2006, Oisterwijk, Nl
Irving Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida
Etienne Van De Doel Gallery, Oisterwijk, Nl
2007 Irving Galleries, Palm Beach, Florida
Etienne Van De Doel Gallery, Oisterwijk, Nl
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