Santiago Ribeiro has been creating art as a professional painter for the last 35 years. In that time, Ribeiro has achieved worldwide recognition as a surrealist painter and his works have been featured in museums and galleries across the globe. Ribeiro’s fantastic works have also been seen on the streets of Manhattan adorning the giant screens of Times Square.
Ribeiro is currently organizing the 2018 International Surrealism Now Exhibition in Coimbra, Portugal. Founded in 2010 by Ribeiro, the exhibition has become the largest surrealist arts festival in the world. This year’s event will take place November 17th to January 2019, and artists and visitors from all over will descend on Coimbra for the event.
The Portuguese surrealist painter continues to receive praise for his work. In 2017, his painting titled ‘Butterflies’ was featured at the Art Revolution Taipei festival. Ribeiro is always expecting the unexpected and he continues to paint diligently each day.
Totalprestige Magazine caught up with the renowned surrealist artist in between brush strokes to ask him about the upcoming International Surrealism Now Exhibition and his remarkable career.
Santiago, when and why did you start painting?
I began to explore my potential in the arts from my childhood. People offered me colored pencils and how I loved the colors. I started to draw and paint. So, people said I had a great ideas and skills, and this encouraged me to continue and explore more and more.
Why Surrealism and how do you define Surrealism, in your own words?
Surrealism is the pure ideological freedom of creativity and thought where the dream mixes in these components. Now, my painting encompasses all of this. Dream, freedom and imagination define the surrealism of the 21st century.
How has your style changed over the years?
This is a big question. Evolution is part of the time, and as such, my work is going to take changes as time goes by. I do not control my evolution, it happens naturally through the freedom we have. It’s intuitive.
What do you believe is a key element in creating a good composition?
There is no concrete answer to this question, because everything depends on each artist and their own style of creating. But in my case, I deal with two components: the technique and the idea that, in turn, react with intuition. Putting everything together and just letting go and starting to create.
Santiago, you are the organizer of the International Surrealism Now Exhibition, which started in 2010. What led you to organize such an exhibition?
Well, before 2010, I had already organized individual and international exhibitions. But in 2008, I started working with the Internet, because before that date, I did not know this tool. Exploring the Internet, I discovered social networks and how my job is to create and exhibit. I had a pioneering idea that no one had ever had up to that point in my city. Organize an exhibition through the Internet. That’s how I started contacting artists from all over the world. And since I have a very good relationship with the Bissaya Barreto Foundation from Coimbra, I proposed my project and it was accepted. So, I am now curator and the Foundation organizer.
When and where will the next International Surrealism Now Exhibition take place?
The next edition will be at the Coimbra House Culture and Chiado Museum in the city of Coimbra in Portugal on November 17th, 2018.
Is International Surrealism Now the world’s largest surrealist art exhibition? How many countries and artists will be participating in the next edition?
Yes indeed. The exhibition started in 2010 and has become the largest world exhibition of contemporary surrealism art with more than 100 artists from 45 countries participating. The exhibits of paintings, drawings, digital art, photographs and sculpture are still growing.
Santiago, what is a day in your life like?
To tell you the true, life it is hard for me, in a way to still creating. My main supporter was my mother, but my mother died three years ago; and since then, my life is very complicated. But I never stop painting.
What makes you smile?
I smile when love and understanding people appear in my life. When people recognize my art and give me value. I like to be recognized from my work.
What scares you?
Many things scare me. The world is living in a dangerous time. The dead are in our streets every day. Not in the case of Portugal, that is a place of security, but in other countries terrorism happens. Sickness and violence and death scare me.
What is your greatest achievement?
Professionally it is the recognition of my art. I appreciate being interviewed by Totalprestige Magazine a lot, for example. It is very important in this stage of my career. In my personal life, I have a dream to have a family, to have a child and conditions to educate him together with his mom.
What is your secret talent?
My secret is to be working hard without stopping. My career is now 35-years old as a professional, but it really started 45 years ago. Also, the secret is its evolution, study and reading about the whole history as discipline in its total.
Which historical figure do you most admire?
I cannot answer. There are many historical personalities from the beginning of civilization to be able to answer this question, but I can speak of one or two that came to mind just now. First one is Hieronymus Bosch a big influence on my art. Sigmund Freud and Mikhail Gorbachev, Leonardo da Vinci and Vasco da Gama and Stephen Hawking. In America I can talk of Martin Luther King, Barack Obama, Neil Armstrong, and Walt Disney.
Santiago, do you have any hobbies?
Yes I have hobbies. My plants. I love plants and I have my balconies full of plants. And my work is my hobby, art and music. Also, I like to see movies, good American movies.
What are you never without?
Oh, I can’t stay without the Internet. It is where I show my art and where I have my friends and people to talk to from all over the World.
Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us?
“Freedom, dream, free ideology and creativity.”
“To love is reason of life.”
Anything else you would like to say?
I just would like to remind readers about my activity in New York City. I have been showing my artwork and promoting my art project on the giant screens of Times Square in Manhattan. There have been 11 editions up to now.
For more information on Santiago Ribeiro and his 11th annual International Surrealism Now Exhibition in Coimbra, Portugal, please visit http://santiagoribeiropainting.blogspot/.