“I want it to be disturbing, I want it to bother you.”
A seemingly nonchalant response from Visual Artist Anhia Santana ,when questioned on an interview for UE Radio last fall, about her eerie ,and abnormal imagery displayed in her visuals brands Bombardment Co & Distorted. Born to Dominican parents, Anhia was raised in the midst of an “unpleasant childhood” where she was exposed to the darker side of life in Reading, Philadelphia. Using her past experiences as fuel to express, Anhia’s love for Betty Page, crazy octopus tentacles & all things morbid bring life to a new world. Uncompromising to her vision, Anhia has invited us all in her infectious membrane where reality is an illusion filled with clear distortions. In this interview Starved spoke candidly with Anhia Santana about her budding art & alternative sense of reality.
In case the people do not know who you are please introduce yourself, and what it is that you do?
I’m Anhia Zahira Santana I create art and animations
It can’t always be “Sunny in Philadelphia.” How has the “colder reality” of living in the hood, and your unconventional upbringing reflected in your work?
In Reading, PA , My parents moved from Dominican Republic to the Bronx in NYC. They moved to Reading and I was born. My dad was involved in the drug world. He got arrested twice then deported after the second time. He wrote me a lot while he was in jail ,and sent me art all the time. My love for art started with his letters. I guess the darkness I experienced as a child is shown in my art now that I am an adult.
Recently you expressed, via social media, the concept behind the “XANAX” shirt was based off an account where a friend of yours landed time for possession. How was that experience a catalyst in your art, and how did it feel to seemingly honor your friend through your imagery ?
The person I’m referring to is my business partner and best friend. I went through the whole experiences with him. We were young and carefree and in college. The lifestyle in college is a world of its own. We decided on the art piece together, being that it was a life changing experience, and a drug that he liked to indulge in.
What is your design aesthetic?
I just do what I feel. I love the freedom of being able to express yourself no matter how ugly.
When did you and Darko venture into using your product as placements on clothing, and created Bombardment Co.?
We been designing since 2011. It started from designs and then it progressed from there.
“Bombardment means “to attack or batter with artillery fire.” What type of art based missiles will Bombardment release this season ,and those following?
We are going to release powerful art through different mediums. From graphic art to animation ,to videography to music.
I know you are a fan of the sophisticated ,sarcastic animated show Daria. The show displayed witty humor through an unimpressed, non-conformist teen that I feel was far ahead of her generation mentally. From the eyes of the viewer, how has the show Daria inspired you personally , as well as your animations?
I feel like I am like Daria. Daria’s personality is very reminiscent of my own personality. I feel like I understand Daria even though she isn’t a real person.
You have sited KAWS, Kesh, and Gwen Stefani to be big inspirations in your life. What attributes and aesthetics do you appreciate in each of these artists?
I love the idea that these people are truly creators and risk takers. It’s not easy to develop an idea ,and concept from the empty space. I feel these artists have surpassed that.
We live in a time where people are so consumed with being “social”. What do you appreciate and acquire in times of reclusiveness as an artist”
I think it’s important to be social. But, the benefits of being alone outweigh the social. When you are alone , an on creative mode, you can see your vision clearly. I think it’s important to know you vision before you go off into the world inviting people into it.
In Bombardment Co. and Distorted you aren’t necessarily shy with using sexually subjective imagery.
How have you balanced expressing sexual/sensual matters ,and still being respected as a woman in this male dominated industry?
I think that sex is a part of life ,and it is art. I think people tend to connect sex in art as being a hoe…easy or whatever. I think it’s all in how you carry yourself in the public that really matters. But whatever !
Where does your love for retro, pin-up, and Betty Page stem from?
I like black and white photos, and I like the fact that she started that whole “I don’t a fuck” wave. She’s a goddess.
What are you STARVED for, as it pertains to art?
Hmmm. I wish people were more original
What will a cartoon by Distorted entail ?
A whole lot of “what the fuck just happened.”
Words of advice to the young art kids out there?
Go to school, graduate, make enough money to back up your dreams. Dream big, but be realistic.
Any last words…
Thank you <3
To purchase Bombardment Co. visit :http://www.bombardmentco.com/ To view Distorted art & purchase prints visit:http://www.distortedd.com/ Be Social ,Follow Bombardment Co. & Anhia Santana here : distortedd_ & BombardmentPa