My first visit to Lake Cochiti was definitely not my last. I was instantly drawn to the eerie mix of natural and human presence in the landscape. It is quiet, yet there is tension. There is a pull by nature to reclaim itself from the weight of the calculated lines of the dam and the awkward recreational accomodations. There's the human pull from nature in its taming of the Rio Grande waters. Modern society's pull on the ancestors of Cochiti Lake, the Cochiti Pueblo Indians. Nature versus human. Human versus nature. Human versus human. Past versus future. I could feel this tension in every one of my visits, even before I was aware of Cochiti Lake's history. What fascinated me about this place was that pull, the subtle enmity that seemed to lay beneath a veil of tranquility and the convergence of natural beauty with human engineering and expansion. Usually, when I witness a discord between human and nature, it is clear. I get easily saddened by our lack of harmony and destructive tendencies. Lake Cochiti is different. It's not so obvious. Only time will reveal the degree of our invasiveness.
Santiago brings an interesting set of aesthetics to his work. He has navigated in and out of two cultures throughout his life. Born in Philadelphia and then moving back and forth between the United States and his native country of Colombia, eventually staying in Colombia for the next 14 years. Inspired by his mother, a painter, Surrealist art, Latin American magic realism, music, and the world of cinema, Santiago creates work that looks at the dark and the light in life. "I see the world in a way that even to me is a bit strange, but very real. The world is a strange, complicated, and fascinating place. I’m constantly drawing metaphors of how I see the world and its future. My images are about the relationship between reality and perception." His work has been featured in Surface Magazine, WIRED, Flaunt Magazine, Picture Magazine, GRAPHIC Magazine UK, Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Lenscratch.