Born and raised in Los Angeles, CA, Sandro Sebastian began drawing at an early age by way of copying cartoon characters he watched on television throughout the ’90s. He practiced the classic Looney Tunes characters along with contemporary counterparts like Ren and Stimpy, Sonic the Hedgehog, or The Simpsons, sitting before the television set with sheets of paper lifted from the back of the printer hooked up to the PC in the family room, running Windows ’95. He’d draw Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck on the backs of test papers in Elementary school, or the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, enjoying the rubbery, languid curvature of animated cartoon characters. There was some great release of tension in watching that type of line work swing across the page.
Moving into the adolescent years, his tastes would evolve to include the influence of Japanese Anime and Manga, enchanting him with its foreign exotic quality as it does many teenagers. Soon there were hardbound sketchbooks filled with mysterious, aloof, ninja and samurai like characters with “too cool for this” expressions on their faces and heavily rendered fabric and clothing.
Always dreaming of a career in animation and comic books, Sebastian didn’t discover the great masters until his third year of college as an undergrad. Having spent 2 years at Cal State University Channel Islands, (a newly opened school not 6 years old when he was accepted) he transferred to Cal State University Sacramento, looking for a more established and developed Art program in which to major. It was there, on the third floor of the Sac State library, he encountered books of reproductions by Caravaggio, Velazquez, Sandro Botticelli, Vermeer, and all other Baroque and Renaissance masters not given the privilege of having a Ninja Turtle named after them.
This is where “Sebastian” became: “Sandro Sebastian.”
All of a sudden a new world opened up and he began furiously copying these works, trying to learn to not take that masterful technique for granted, and the results encouraged him to pursue painting full time, almost forgetting about comic books and animation.
It was after a few years of trying to get paid work as a freelance illustrator and storyboard artist, while working manual labor jobs in warehouses, construction sites and on film sets (working with the Art Department) little Sandro decided to apply to graduate school for art. He sent off his portfolio of invented characters in storybook settings, rendered in oil with noticeably “Baroque influenced” atmospheres to several schools and was rewarded with the top scholarship for the Graduate Fine Arts MFA program at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York.
After relocating, however, Sandro soon found the academic environment to be a mixed bag of positive and negative influences, so to relieve anxiety, he began making weekly trips to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in Manhattan. With sketchbook in hand, it was there that he discovered a treasure trove of works outside the western tradition, and copied in person the wall reliefs of Ancient Egypt, the tribal sculptures and figurines of Africa, and the elegant Chinese landscapes on display at the Met. A whole new realm opened up yet again, seeing the artistic perspective of non-Eurocentric cultures that pre-date the Renaissance and, dare I say, surpass it in many respects.
Officially breaking ties with Pratt in the Spring semester of 2019, Sandro Sebastian returned to Los Angeles where he now lives and works, pursuing his own voice. He did not come from a family of artists, or illustrators, or art theorists or historians, there were no family field trips to local galleries or museums, any discussions of contemporary artists or criticism around the dinner table, or expensive private art lessons throughout his childhood. He’s made his way entirely by remaining that excited kid sitting in front of the television set with those stray sheets of paper from the back of the Windows ’95 printer, desperately wanting to be able to re-create, in his own language, that profound joy that images bring.
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OTIS College of Art and Design Creative Writing MFA – (1 semester)
Pratt Institute MFA Painting and Drawing Program – (2 semesters)
Bachelor’s Degree (Studio Art): California State University, Sacramento
OTIS College of Art and Design Merit Scholarship 2020
Pratt Institute Fine Arts Merit scholarship 2018
Pasadena Art Center College of Design MFA Scholarship 2018
“Your Place at the Table III: Rooted” -311 Art Gallery (NC)
“Magnum Opus 2022”- Sacramento Fine Arts Center (CA)
“Open Themed Annual 2022” Webster Arts (MO)
“42nd National Juried Art Show” The Arts Council of Wayne County (Wayne County, NC)
“CCAN 2021” Center for Contemporary Arts (Abilene, TX)
“Summer Pleasures” Modern Visual Arts Gallery (Bethlehem, PA)
“May 2021 Group Art Show” Jones Gallery (Kansas City, MO)
“Heroes, Heroines, and Heroics” Flagler County Art League (Palm Coast, FL)
“Artist’s Vision 2021” Marin Society of Artists (San Rafael, CA)
“Expo 40-Where Things Land” B.J Spoke Gallery (New York, NY)
“Photography 2020” Las Lagunas Gallery (Laguna Beach, CA)
“Expressions 2020” Marin Society of Artists (San Rafael, CA)
“Go Figure!” Springfield Art Association- Hoogland Center for the Arts. (Springfield, IL)
“Red” Colors of Humanity Gallery (online exhibition)
“Open Theme Annual” – Webster Arts, (St. Louis, MO)
-“Botanicals” Artroomgalleryonline.com (Online Gallery)
– “55th Annual Newport Beach Art Festival.” June 15 (Newport Beach, CA)
-“Roslyn Art Festival.” Brodine and Brodine Gallery (Roslyn, WA)
-“555 Special Exhibition” Light Space & Time Art (Online Gallery)
-“Sweet 15” Alumni Show- Napa Hall Main Gallery, California State University Channel Islands (Camarillo, CA)
-“Annual Student Awards Show” Robert Else Gallery, California State University, Sacramento
-“Annual Senior Show” Robert Else Gallery, California State University, Sacramento
Circle Quarterly Art Magazine Issue 5- Summer 2020
Murze Magazine Issue 12- “Our Body”
Wotisart Magazine – January 2019 Open call for submissions
Murze Magazine Issue 4 – “Fluke Photography contest”
Outsider Art Magazine – Issue 3. Featured Artist