Interview with T. Jay Santa Ana 5/12/2020
T. Jay Santa Ana is a gay Filipino artist (Scorpio/INFJ) based in San Diego, California. He is a resident artist at The Urban Art Shop in City Heights. His preferred mediums are ink, paint, and pixel.
What projects are you currently working on? I just started a monthly art show on my island in Animal Crossing: New Horizons. I’m working on uploading artwork into the game and also creating custom designs through the game. I plan to showcase select pieces every month by inviting players not just to my island, but also to visit my in-house studio for a free art show.
How has the pandemic affected or shifted your practice? Since I didn’t have access to my studio in City Heights, I reverted back to creating work from my room like I did when I first started making art. As a graphic designer by day, I’m still able to continue working remotely, but it’s been a strange incorporation of my daily routine to mix all these disciplines into one household. I moved away from painting larger pieces on canvas with acrylic to making smaller pieces using ink and my iPad.
What has your journey been like as a creative/artist/small business owner? I’ve always created things my entire life, but I never made an attempt to make art my life practice. My creative career began as a graphic designer which brought me to a company that I left in order to pursue art more fully. Since then I’ve been blessed with the typical artist grind, paying dues to the art gods, and constantly focusing on my process for creating. In between those things I’ve exhibited at shows, vended at various events, sold work at DesignerCon, and stumbled upon my first studio (not necessarily in that order).
Do you have any tips for up-and-coming, or rising artists/creatives? As an introvert, it feels counterintuitive to say this but I would say meet as many people as you can, attend as many shows as possible, and be kind – all while being yourself. The Avett Brother’s say it best: “You gotta show up if you wanna be seen.”
Follow T. Jay Santa Ana on Instagram: @tjaysantaana