We had the good fortune of connecting with Jason Santiago and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jason, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
There’s no risk found in the dream, no failure in the imagining of success. Dreams of where you’d like to be as an artist, and the directions you’d like to take your work are nice like that. Its easy to have plans for your future take prolonged… if not permanent residence in the ethereal. It seems to us as a way of protecting them and ourselves. We (falsely) believe that if we don’t make an effort to manifest them into reality, they can’t fail, we won’t be exposed. It’s in that fear of risk that prevents us from reaching our true potential as creators. The risk that is so terrifying, is the lifeblood of our work. Without the courage to face it head on, and possibly fail… which will almost certainly at times happen, we cannot expect to fulfill those dreams. Personally, I have taken many risks in my life, and have failed many times. Each of those failures have become learning experiences that pushed myself and my work further. Taking the risk has always been frightening, and in one way or another been immensely beneficial. To truly live, and to truly create takes the courage to risk. Risk is everything!
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art revolves around the storied tradition of street photography. Recently my work has been focused on the life and people of our place and time. There’s a real beauty in the theatrics of the players found on the street. Small performances carried out everyday that emote real instances of empathy, humanity, humor, strength and weakness. I do my best to try to capture those moments, and allow viewers to reflect on there own nature. To have an opportunity to see in others what is in themselves, and form an understanding and interconnectedness. Recently, I have compiled a series of images into a zine titled Vernacular, showcasing some of that work. The title vernacular being a good representation of what can be found inside, photography being a true common language for all people to share. It has been a labor of love creating this project, and after over a year of working on it, it is finally available. I am proud that it is currently being featured in both Visual Gallery and Verbatim Books in North Park, and also on my website.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego is truly an amazing city, and I am proud to call it home. There are so many great spots to check out, that often I have trouble choosing just a few when people visit here. I guess it helps to plan out what my perfect San Diego day would look like. My favorite brunch spot is Morning Glory in Little Italy, their food and drinks are off the charts, but the ambiance and design is stunning. My next stop would have to be the beach. I would stop at the cove in La Jolla for the best nature watching in San Diego, and great snorkeling. Just a few days ago I swam there alongside brightly colored Garibaldi fish, sting rays, and sea lions, its special and beautiful. If I’d like to do people watching at the beach instead, theres no better spot to emerge yourself in the crowd than Ocean Beach. Its always an amazing eclectic mix of vendors, performers, skaters, and surfers. Some great low key rooftop bars can be found on Ocean Beaches main drag as well. Lunch has to be at one of our taco shops, theres nothing better than a good California Burrito. Lucha Libre’s Surfin California burrito was the first that I tried when I came to the city, and has always had a place in my heart. The environment they create at their locations is amazing as well and worth the visit. All fully decked out in bright colors and Luchador gear. A visit to some of our local art galleries is also always a welcome trip. My two favorites are La Bodega Galley, and Visual Gallery. Formally in Barrio Logan, and now in Seaport Village, La Bodega Galley is an amazing showcase of starting and established San Diegan artists. Some of the best work in the city, I’ve seen throughout the years has been at La Bodega. Visual Gallery is another amazing spot in Northpark, that always has great work by very inspiring artists. Attached is also a supply shop that sells amazing artist tools. The whole place is a well designed destination with a flair for underground work. Dinner doesn’t get better than Turf Supper Club. It has a old world charm, and the food is excellent. There’s no other place I love more to get a stiff drink coupled with an opportunity to throw my own steak on the fire. To round off this perfect San Diego day would be a night cap and one of the many breweries we have. My favorite at the moment would have to be Belching Beaver. Its a small but inviting space in Northpark, that has delicious beers you can’t find anywhere else. The Deftones Phantom Bride is my go to IPA, the Viva La Beaver (a Mexican chocolate peanut butter stout) can’t be beat, and their Seltzer line is the best that I’ve tried.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have spent my whole life blessed with a truly great support system. Without the help of my family and friends, I would not be anywhere close to where I am today. I owe them everything. My mother Lynda, father Johnny, and grandmother Etta especially, have always supported me to walk my own path and write my own story.
All photos taken by Jason Santiago