Martin-Jan van Santen (b.1968) graduated in 1992 at the Constantijn Huygens School of Art in Kampen. After
a period of working and living in different places, he eventually returned to Kampen, where he is active as an independent painter. After a career spanning ten years, working as an animation artist, draughtsman and director, in 2007 he finally decided to concentrate on painting, something which for a long time he had aspired to do.
The theme he explored for many years, and which still fascinates him, the male nude, remains a key part of his artistic output, but the subject matter evolved. Landscapes, still lives, portraits and many other motives, difficult to categorize, became a source of inspiration. Light and color are of the essence, and the texture of paint itself is crucial to the final result, never betraying his distinctive hand.
Perhaps the most important feature is the effect of light in his paintings. Nearly always he uses light in a striking way: sometimes spectacular, sometimes subdued and atmospherical. Occasionally, light is so essential that it develops into subject matter in its own right, more important than whatever is being depicted.
Van Santen has no interest in making social statements or reforming art. He just paints the way he paints. What matters for him, is an honest, open minded approach to the subject at hand. He is looking for the heart of the matter, the essence. The result must be able to stand on its own, without reference to reality, the original source of inspiration.
Besides his free work, Martin-Jan also paints portraits on commission.
If you are interested in his work or have questions of any kind, please contact the
artist. (photo: Arjen Grolleman)