CURTIS TALWST SANTIAGO
What did you learn about art from your parents?
parents taught me about art through Trinidadian Carnival, the music of
the Mighty Sparrow and the costumes and performances of Peter Minshall.
Besides the joy of common experience, all of this continues to influence
How has being a father changed your work or process as an artist, if at all?
sure many artist parents will agree. It’s the constant desire for
exploration that children have. The tireless curiosity my son exudes
inspires me to make my practice even more exploratory. Also, I’ve never
had a love greater or more profound than my desire to make art.
Witnessing Anna carry and give birth to our baby expanded my capacity on
all fronts. Another lesson a child gives is patience, also for oneself,
and the need to be more resourceful with time. This has been good for
What early signs of creativity do you see in your son?
eight months now and likes to sing. A few weeks ago, we woke up at 4 am
to find him singing to himself, just laying between us, eyes wide open
creating a little melody. He is also a passionate percussionist, hitting
basically on everything he can get his hands on.
What do you hope to teach him about art?
he is free to choose his forms of expression, and he doesn’t need to be
an artist or even like art. However, art is such a large part of our
family life, my partner being a curator at Haus der Kunst. My son is
naturally exposed to so much art that if it is in him, he will find it. I
hope that he will discover art as a source of freedom and joy and
provocation of thought, perceiving the world and oneself within.
What was your most formative early experience with art?
My brother Anthony is ten years older and an artistic polymath. He would take me to his theatre rehearsals, make me listen to Purple Rain
and sit me at the kitchen table to draw with him while explaining the
threads connecting Basquiat to Twombly to Rembrandt. And that the work
of Kerry James Marshall and Michael Ray or Bill Traylor is equally
important as the work of masters from the European canon.
What do you do when you want to feel inspired?
I observe the world around me and the beautiful gift of this new life in
front of me. Where I’m at in life at this moment has been built from
years of manifesting and sacrifice. The journey itself is my
inspiration, and I still desire to do so much more. I came from blessed
ancestors and made this lane for myself by not following a traditional
trajectory, and that is enough for me to feel a fire to be in the studio