We recently spent some time with one of our favorite surreal artists, Santiago Gonzalez (@one_santi). Santiago has a distinctive style and color palette and we’ve always really enjoyed the shadows and reflections he takes the time to build into his work. His Mextures edits are very purposeful and clean and complement the imagery he creates perfectly. You’ll find the content of our conversation below! Let us and Santiago know what you think!
My name is Santiago Gonzalez. Outside of Instagram I'm a blessed husband (no children yet!). I like to play a lot of FIFA Soccer on PS4 and I love to play soccer myself too. That's another hobby of mine in real life.
I was born in Mexico but moved to the U.S. back in 2000. Now I live in Springdale, Arkansas. I love to be close to my loved ones.
Photography has changed the way I see every little thing on this planet.
HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN?
I got into photography around 3 or so years ago. Actually, a friend of mine mentioned Instagram to me. I didn't know anything about it and he was like, “You take pictures and post them there.” At first I didn't really like it, but after a few months I started to see photography in a different way! And I was actually learning graphic design during my high school years.
WHAT KEEPS YOU INTERESTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY?
What keeps me interested is how you can get to know so many people through photography. I've meet a bunch of people through Instagram. I might not know them personally, but I love the idea of being a photographer and taking pictures of them during an important event like a wedding or engagement. That's what keeps me interested in achieving my goal of becoming a professional photographer!
WHAT ARE THE APPS/SOFTWARE YOU USE MOST FREQUENTLY?
The apps I use the most are honestly Mextures (obviously), Lightroom, Union and Looksee. Sometime I combine Mextures and Lightroom!
WHAT WAS IT THAT LED YOU TO CREATING SURREAL ART?
What led me there was when I saw the way that Merek Davis puts such magical tones on his images. I liked the thought of creating that type of imagery by blending photos together and making something really magical!
WHAT DOES YOUR EDITING PROCESS TEND TO INVOLVE?
My editing process isn’t that hard to figure out honestly. I don't use Photoshop. I use Union if I want to blend two or more pictures together. Then I use Mextures and/or Lightroom to complete my finishing touches. It's really simple!
Mextures helps me achieve that moody and dark feel on my images. That's the one thing I use Mextures the most for - bringing a moody look to my photos.
CAN YOU SHARE A FEW OF YOUR MEXTURES FORMULAS?
“SPLASH” - WGXJVTP - This formula has green tones with dark shadows.
"ALL ALONE" - ACGHIWZ - This formula is mostly dark tones with some added highlights.
"SURF UP" - SHNTUDH - This one brings in some light blue tones.
Most of my formulas are the moody type!
DO YOU FEEL LIKE MEXTURES OFFERS ANYTHING UNIQUE TO YOUR EDITING PROCESS?
It does to mine. I love the way the app looks and I’ve also bought some of the formulas offered. I usually try to combine my own formulas with formulas from the app. It's one of the best apps for editing tools in my opinion.
WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE PIECE TO CREATE?
I have a few but my favorite has to be this train track with the Milky Way in the background. It has such a sharp contrast and the Milky Way adds just the right amount of color to the picture.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU TO CREATE MORE THAN ANYTHING ELSE?
What inspires me is the idea of creating something different but with the same ingredients I’ve used for other images. I try to create new things every day and there are a few friends that I follow on Instagram that give me the support I need to keep growing my work.
Justin - @jstnptrs
Doug - @twice.twice
Alex - @alexander.morton
Josue - @meetjosue
June - @cinnaavox
All of these people inspire me because of the way they use their imaginations to create their work. Most have that in common with me and give me their support and thats keeps me going!
Find more of Santiago’s work right here!