Let me run my fingers through your...


July's portrait of the month.


This time it's Tenille, a talented singer from North Carolina originally from Brooklyn. 

Since Tenille was going through a transformation in her life, like many women, she needed a small reminder of her value and grace despite feeling ungraceful. I engineered this artistic transformational glamour piece as a reminder of both her inner & outer beauty. 


I really exaggerated her naturally curly locks to express the quote “The higher the hair the closer to God” and to give her a majestic regal vibe. The pose and the jewelry push a glamorous look that offsets the nudity in a tasteful way. It’s a glamour technique I’ve learned to deploy while living in Las Vegas and observing the stunning showgirls, specifically from the extravaganza ‘Jubilee” at Ballys. From the 1950’s to the 1990s each major casino had their own spectacular showgirl showcase. Sadly Jubilee was the very last of it’s kind until they closed a few months ago. The space is making room for yet another Circe De Soliel / EDM club thus forever erasing the showgirl culture from Las Vegas Strip. 


I also created an “Anahata” heart chakra flower hair piece. Anahata translates to “unhurt, unstruck, and unbeaten" in Sanskrit and is the 4th primary green chakra.  It’s considered the wellspring of self-nurturing, love, warmth, compassion, joy and is located in the center of the chest at the heart level.  In addition, I repeated the Anahata behind her in a hypnotic fashion. It fades away in a 1920s zig-zagging Art Deco flower pattern. It was my attempt to represent the importance being present, meditating, and how one zones out during a focused breathing session. Lastly, her curly mane is shaped like a giant heart to push the self love concept as strongly as possible for the days when it’s harder to embrace oneself.

In the end this commission was a cultural gumbo mix of pinup, showgirl, Vegas, 1920s jazz-age, and Eastern spirituality with a sparkly twist of self love and reflection. The title for this particular art piece is “Anahata” or the more fun and corny choice “Let my run my fingers through your heart chakra.”


The art of making an endearing motherly canvas when mom looks like a deadly weapon.

The art of making this:

from this:


What happens when your client looks like a deadly weapon but wants an innocent family painting?

One of the challenges I have is often get clients who are drop dead gorgeous with “looks that kill - sex appeal”. Seems like a great challenge to have however it can be slightly problematic. Whenever I get hired to create a group, especially when working remotely, I usually request 10-20 photos of each person to see what works best in a group setting. When creating a beautiful warm family portrait art that conveys a mother's love for her children, these these glamorous women send me adorable happy photos of their kids as reference, but when it comes to her own reference photos, they often send sultry and sexy pics of what they think would work. The juxtaposition of sexy mom with innocent children leads to an odd visual and final product.


Long time friend and supporter and all around amazing woman, Amandita commissioned me to create a canvas portrait of her and her two beautiful kids. Since Amandita is quite the bombshell in real life, the majority of her modeling portfolio photos did not work well when posing with her kids in the pre production collage draft phase. Being the mad perfectionist and not resting until I found the right imagery, I ended up doing way more research and choosing a candid photo from her social media account that conveyed a loving and innocent facial expression for the final inspiration. It lead to a more cohesive connected loving vibe to the final art. What do you think?

Click link below to see the animated process.

The transformation of a child. 1900s style portrait of Emma.

In the early 1900's, photography conveyed a sincere and innocent atmosphere for the subjects. Smiling with dramatic "say cheese" faces were something unheard of. With the evolution of portable cameras during the pass 100 years, an era of candid casualness has drowned out the sensitive tenderness early photography greatly showcased. Early motion pictures were influenced by theater, and early television presentations were inspired by radio presentations. In the same way early portrait photography was strongly influenced by the long art history of portraiture painting. Here is Edwardian era transformation portrait illustration art of Emma. Most of my retro portrait transformations are inspired by decades from the 1920"a to the 60's. However Inspiration is everywhere and yearned to create something a little different. I rarely do transformational art on children but was fascinated by studio portrait photography from this particular era. Notable trademarks were big poofy swirly "Gibson girl" hair curls, lots of flowers with a very shallow depth of field (center of face sharply focused with hair blurring out of focus, dark backdrops, transitional fades, and circular frames. Very minimal wash of color due to hand tinting black and white images. My challenge was to capture that same 1900's spirit in an illustration art format and still have it resemble my client's daughter. Tell me what you think. -Santiago.

Children's Portrait art
Eye detail portrait
Portrait art Before and after