Santiago X is an indigenous artist, architect, and singer/songwriter currently based in Chicago, IL. Santiago X is most noted for using architectural design, fabrication techniques to re-purpose and re-appropriate controversial mainstream indigenous iconography. He is a registered member of the Coushatta tribe of Louisiana (Koasati) and the Chamorro people of Guam USA (Hachamaori).
The Cigar Store Indian has deep roots in American commercial icons. It is also America’s most prominent reminder of indigenous cultural displacement and enslavement. In his continued effort to re-appropriate racist American iconography, Santiago X utilizes this medium to remind us of indigenous resilience and prosperity.
With a foundation in classical art and architecture, Santiago X lived in Italy where he studied the works of the great sculptural artists Caravaggio, Bernini, and Michelangelo. During his graduate studies in architecture, Santiago X began to use scripting and digital fabrication methods to generate and translate computational 3-D form into the built environment. His latest creation challenges the notions of stereotypical archetypes and bridges these worlds of art, architecture, history, and indigenous resilience.
A couple of years back, I became familiar with the art of Santiago X, which can best be described as equal parts transgressive and tongue-in-cheek. As one-half of emerging hip-hop outfit Santiago x The Natural, the Chicago-based Santiago (b. 1982) sees music as a natural extension. “I sculpt soundwaves, I sculpt buildings because I have a history in architecture,” he says. “I work in waves. The medium changes, but the content never really does.”