ELSA SANTOS – A Biography
Elsa Santos is a Spanish artist born in 1971 in Seville. She grew up with art all around her. In Andalucia, her grandfather – Sebastian Santos Rojas, and father – Sebastian Santos, are very well-known sculptors with important works in many public squares, churches and private collections. Her mother is also a practicing artist.
Elsa trained in the very traditional Faculty of Fine Arts in Seville where her father was a Professor in Sculpture. She specialized in painting. Upon finishing her degree she moved to London for 10 years working in film and television industry as a digital artist creating matte paintings and textures for the Soho visual effects facility Framestore. Her work can be seen in feature films such as Harry Potter, Troy and Walking With Beasts.
In 2006 Elsa left the UK and moved to Asia where she took up the role of Art Director for two years on Singapore’s first animated feature film, Sing to the Dawn. In 2008 Elsa settled in Sydney with her husband Matthew and welcomed her daughter Ella into the world. During these early years of motherhood she returned to her traditional arts practice, exploring techniques from her days at University. In 2012 she became an Australian citizen.
Elsa is a gifted drafts-woman and a fine practitioner of traditional techniques, learned in Spain from her family and Faculty. She prepares her own materials and explores the fascinating chemistry of pigments and medium.
Elsa’s favorite way of expression is drawing; through recent years she has developed a technique that allows her to create very precise lines on the surface layer of the painting using an etching needle. Often layer upon layer. Her main source of inspiration is nature itself, mysterious and organic shapes that seem unplanned but yet so perfect and beautifully fit together.These observations have become visual themes in her image making.
Dreaming and trusting the unconscious mind to wander and explore – as a process, connects her research, images and themes. Much like a musician there is a liberty grounded in improvisation within her practice. A work is often an unknowable journey as it is unclear how things will be revealed when she begins, but the end comes sharply into focus as it draws near.
Elsa has some of her work in private collections in Australia, London and Spain and has participated in a number of exhibitions in these countries.
Studied Fine Arts in the University of Seville, Spain, from 1990 to 1995, specializing in Painting.
In 1995 thanks to a government scholarship, she went to Athens, Greece to continue her studies of Painting, where she stayed for 4 months, studying mainly the landscape and classic ceramic of Greece.
-“The Portrait in Its Practice. Studio Through a Video-digital Process”. Seville,
-“Printmaking and Lithography”. Seville,
-“Introduction to the Video Technology”. University of Seville.
-“20TH Summer Course on Folk Art”. Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.
– The Greenway Art prize exhibition 2020. Finalist. Sydney
– Urban EDGE Contemporary art prize 2019. Finalist. Sydney
– The Greenway Art prize exhibition 2019. Finalist. Sydney
– Glebe Art Fair, Glebe, Sydney. 2019
– Of Humans and Nature (solo). The Shop gallery, Sydney 2018.
– The Greenway Art prize exhibition 2018. Finalist painting prize. Sydney
– Nature (solo). Abercrombie gallery, Sydney 2018.
– For Art’s Sake. Design Centre, Enmore, Sydney 2017.
– The Greenway Art prize exhibition 2016. Finalist. Sydney
– Birds + Us (group). Claire Layman Gallery, 4/640 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. 2016
– Annual group exhibition, The Shop Gallery, Sydney. 2016
– The Nature of Things (individual), The Shop Gallery, Sydney. 2015
– Balmain Art Fair, Balmain, Sydney. 2015
– Glebe Art Fair, Glebe, Sydney. 2015
– All WomenArt Exhibition. Light Space and Time Online Art Gallery. Florida, USA. 2015
– 40×40 Art Prize exhibition – Brunswick Street Gallery, Fitzroy, Melbourne. 2014
– The Greenway Art prize exhibition. Highly commended award. Sydney. 2014.
– Islington Art Fair. Torrents Street, London, UK. 2004
– “The Art of Love”. Arndean Gallery, Cork Street, London, UK. 2004
– Autumn Exhibition (collective). Seville, Spain. 1997
– The Royal Academy of Arts, Autumn Exhibition (collective). Sevill, Spain. 1997
– “Young Expression” (collective). Jerez de la Frontera, Cadiz, Spain. 1996/1997
– “Young Artist from Jerez” (individual), Cadiz, Spain. 1996
– The Royal Academy of Arts, Autumn Exhibition (collective). Seville, Spain.1996
– “Selected Works for the 1997 poster of the Carnival” (collective), Cadiz, Spain.1996
– “Young Artists Pro-Bosnia”. Antares Club (collective). Sevill, Spain.1995/96
– V National Drawing Award, (collective), Madrid, Spain.1995
– The Royal Academy of Arts, Autumn Exhibition (collective). Cadiz, Spain.1995
– The Royal Academy of Arts, Autumn Exhibition (collective). Cadiz, Spain.1993
– The Royal Academy of Arts, Autumn Exhibition (collective). Seville, Spain.1992
– “Terracota” (collective). Fine Arts School, Seville, Spain. 1992
AWARDS AND GRANTS
– Artist in residence, The demountable, Leichhardt Council, NSW. Australia. January 2015 to January 2016.
– Highly Commended Greenway Art Prize, 2014
– Winner of the ARTfest-Digital, 2014
– Highly Commended award to the sculpture”Wounded Deer”, shown on The Royal Academy of Arts. Autumn Exhibition, Seville, Spain, 1992
– Erasmus Scholarship, University of Seville. The destination was the University of Athens, Greece, 1995
– Scholarship of The Ministry of Spain, Foreign Office. The destinationwas Hungary where I made a summer course on Folk Art. 1996
– First prize to the artwork “Interior”, in the exhibition “Young Expression”. Cadiz, Spain 1996
As well as a visual artist she has collaborated in a number of projects over the years, being the most remarkable:
– The Great Gatsby – Baz Luhrmann’s award winning film. Working directly with Beverley Dunn as a Concept Illustrator in the Set Design Department, Oscar winner for Best Achievement in Production Design.
– The Landing (Perception Pictures, 2013) Award-winning Sci-Fi short film. Working closely with the director, digitally painting the backgrounds and set extensions for the film.
– First Footprints (Animal Logic 2013) TV series. A four part ABC documentary series explores the story of how people arrived and thrived on our continent. Digital painter of landscape environments.
– Australia (Rising Sun, 2008) Baz Luhrmann’s award winning film. Digital Painter and Concept Artist.
–The Spirit, (Rising Pictures, 2008) Frank Miller’s stylized film version of the same graphic novel. She worked as a concept artist.
– Sing to the Dawn (Infinite Frameworks, 2008) animated feature. Art Director. Working closely with the director and leading the Art Department.
– Framestore – CFC. London, UK. (2000-2006) Digital Artist and member of the Art Department. Various films included: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Troy, Prehistoric Park (TV) and Walking with Monsters (TV).
– Surface 3D. UK. Working remotely in various roles and projects, Designer, Concept Artist, Digital Painter and Texture Painter.
–Argonaut Games software. London, UK. 3D Artist. I worked in the game “Carve”as a modeller and texture artist.
– Codemasters Software Ltd. Leamington Spa, UK. 3D Artist. I have worked as an artist in the game Colin McRae Rally2 for PlayStation and PC and in the project Cannon Fodder for PlayStation 2. , developing 3D objects, textures and designing and creating in game track FMVs.