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Dusty Santamaria / Blog

Segments from an interiew with Show and Tell gallery

&TG: And what does it mean to you to be an artist, poet, etc? And have you always thought of yourself as one? If not, when did you?

DS: I learned when I was younger that I could use performance and songs to kinda re-weave a lot of situations into an arena which I could interpret and operate in. It was, and is, something I could use to reach a dialogue with the world that kept me interested.

S&TG: How long have you been making art?

DS: 3,000 years. Maybe 4.

S&TG: Why is your art important to you? Why do you spend time creating when you could be doing something completely different and no one else would stop you?

DS: That’s like asking a kitten why it doesn’t lay eggs. Again I believe that creation, in this realm anyway, in the realm of painting and poetry and song, is a physical response to a deep seeded compulsion. The idea of giving it up entirely never presents itself.

S&TG: What does it feel like to create? No, seriously, what does it feel like?

DS: It feels like feeding a hunger that sometimes you forget you have. It puts one in some kind of universal order. When the thing is working well, it’s a way to discover or rediscover your self respect. You know, to seize the day. But really, its a trophy of a human being’s need to work. But not in a job sense. Art is a place where you meet yourself in peace.

S&TG: What kind of art do you make? What excites you as an artist?

DS: What first turned me on to the notion of creating things was rock and roll music. Because it brought on a physical reaction. It changed my body chemistry. It woke up the senses. That first wave of American rock and roll music right after world war two. That’s what did it at first. I’d hear that stuff as a kid in various places and it felt like the gods were talking directly to me. It pointed a direction that I wanted to follow. It allowed me to glimpse inside a mysterious and ghostly world that I hadn’t yet seen anywhere else. I know that a lot of that stuff has been caricaturized as milkshakes and soda shops, and sock hops, but the essence of the real stuff of that time was pure animalism and sexuality. Those recordings have a particular energy unparalleled in the history of recorded popular music. Rock and roll is Dionysus. Later on I discovered the same thing in poetry. Poetry, when it works, also demands a physical reaction. It speaks to the senses. Words are a veil for a deeper reality. Organic pulses and musical rhythms. Natural rhythms. I try to make songs like that.