Originally from West Virginia, Christopher Santer earned a BFA in Design and Illustration from the University of Dayton in 1989. After working as a commercial artist in Chicago for two years, Santer left to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in painting, earning a graduate degree from Ohio University in 1994.
Santer’s paintings have been exhibited in galleries and museums across the country, including Gallery Katz in Boston, Circa Gallery in Minneapolis, Viveza in Seattle, The Sonoma Museum of Visual Arts in Santa Rosa, and Aqua Art Miami. Prints of his work, available through his website, pacemstudio.com, have been shipped to all 50 states and 13 foreign countries. He is a recipient of the 2004 McKnight Foundation Fellowship (Minneapolis, MN) and his work has been featured in the bi-monthly publication, “New American Paintings” (#47).
Santer teaches art at Providence Academy in Plymouth, MN, and completes a wide range of commissioned artworks every year from his home studio in St. Paul, MN.
It is a winding path to behold when I look back upon the past 30 years of my artistic output. This was not my intent from the beginning but given how wide my interests have always been, it is not that surprising. My lifelong fascinations with archaeology, geology, and architecture all seem to have emerged at times. It is, in fact, that arc of interests that led me away from a singular pursuit of any of them and into the realm of fine arts where I could investigate my visual interest in all of them. But I am a restless artist and my exploration of a specific body of work, though it may continue for many years, inevitably runs its course and has to be abandoned and replaced by an entirely new visual language.
So what is the common thread that connects them all? It is a long look at man’s place in this world, for better or worse. It has led me to explore contrasts of the man-made versus nature, the sacred amidst the profane, and ultimately the beauty that is creation, the beauty that is humanity, despite our failings.
I initially trained as an illustrator, which may have led to the variety of imagery seen in my art. There were years that I tried to restrict this range and stay focused on one definitive style but I have found that the greatest joy in art-making is to let the art take me to the widest range of places. This is also evident in my commissioned work, where in the course of a given year I have completed sacred art for churches, contemporary outdoor murals, landscape commissions and architectural renderings. I take on each new idea, each new commission, as a unique challenge, with an eye toward beauty and the humble awareness of being a “co-creator with God,” as St. John Paul II writes in his Letter to Artists, and I proceed with joy.