Creatives That Rock: The Art of Santana

Joel Santana's whimsical style is dark and full of playful narratives. All of his creations tell a story and pull you into their world. As a child he was inspired by his older brother's super hero drawings and wanted to draw as good as him. As a teenager he became captivated by Disney characters and now wants to work for a major film animation studio. "There are several artists who influence my work such as Walt Disney, Tim Burton, Norman Rockwell, Michelangelo, Dali and Banksy. I would say over the past 2 years a lot of my work has been influenced by Tim Burton."

Joel attended college for Graphic Design and has worked in the field for 10 years. His goal is to eventually transition into a full time Illustrator/Concept Artist.

"I am consistently pursuing my passion for art and pushing my imagination into new directions. Exploring and experimenting with new tools from traditional to digital. I have learned that the more you expose yourself to new things the more you can truly increase your chances in finding your niche."


"My family is my number one inspiration right now. My wife and kids inspire me in so many ways. They've been inspirations of some of my illustrations and are my motivation to keep bettering myself as an artist but also as a father and husband," says Joel.

A recent project where Joel's illustration skills truly shine is a PUBLIX Premium Ice Cream package illustration. His playful imagery and coloring truly made this product leap off the shelves. Be warned you may have to go to multiple PUBLIX stores to find it in stock! "It's one of the very few projects where I've been given lots of creative freedom and control," says Joel.

"One of the personal projects I am currently working on is a digital illustration of a sculptor and a young apprentice. The young apprentice is excited to work on her art piece although its imperfect. The message being that talent and success doesn't come to us over night. We have to work through the frustrations, imperfect work, and keep at it in order to master our craft."
As an artist Joel is constantly learning and rocking out new creative. Like Steven Tyler his signature style is constantly evolving and growing. For freelance illustration inquiries and to see more of Joel's work you can visit You can also find him on facebook at to keep updated on his work and any upcoming shows!