When you ride a train back to your hometown, you look out across the vast scenery - into a sky that seems to stand still in its endless blue while the trees and the scattered towns and the telephone wires rush by like a movie reel. In the middle of the country, far away from the bustling city and the boiling traffic is a plain white house with one giant tree and one tiny swing in the yard. The house looks empty and the only car there is a broken-down and rusty one but the swing is swaying in the breeze. And as you pass that yard and the swing and come upon row after row of subdivided neighborhoods with houses that all look exactly the same with the same car in each drive-way and their drivers all leaving at the same time going to virtually the same place - you are still being haunted by that swing.
When I look at Justin Santora's work, I not only see that swing, but I see the child that once swayed in it. Justin's prints and illustrations are complex in process and thought but simple in beauty. The ideas of innocence and the loss there-of, the weaving memories that shape our lives, and the longing of someone who is outside looking in are all prevalent in the composition of Justin's work. The nostalgia of childhood that lingers on into our adult lives and the paths of daydreams we want to lose ourselves in are inherent in his art. The starkness of the landscapes and the muted panes of color form an emotional bond with the subject matter of the pieces through the painstakingly detailed fine lines and scratchings of the drawings themselves. Based out of Northern Illinois, Justin's amazing work stands out as a monument to all of our wishes even in the face of our sometimes daunting reality.