2015-03-18 / Obituaries

Alfredo Santos

Alfredo Santos, a nationally recognized artist who made Fleischmanns his home for over a decade, passed away peacefully at 87 years of age on Friday, March 13, 2015 at a nursing home in San Diego, CA.
Santos was born in California but lived in Mexico and the United States.  At the age of 24 he was imprisoned at San Quentin on drug charges but proved himself an artist by drawing portraits of the people around him and then was asked to paint several large murals on the cafeteria walls at San Quentin.  He considered this feat to be his art education. 
Following his release he maintained a studio in San Diego, worked as a cartoonist at Disneyland in Florida, but fleeing a marijuana charge, left for Mexico where he ran galleries before returning to America.  He sold work in and around New York City before his arrival in Fleischmanns in the early 1970s.
Santos sold hundreds of unique dimensional paintings and wood sculptures.  Many local people, as well as scores of collectors in distant places, still own one or more pieces of Santos art.  At the time, no one was ever told of his now famous murals because he had been ashamed of his four years in prison.  However, after a 2003 visit to San Quentin, he was lauded as the artist who painted the giant murals and recognized as their creator. 
Several articles appeared in publications such as The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times and in the last couple of years a California professor has been filming a documentary about Santos entitled “Broken Mold: The Life and Art of Alfredo Santos.”
In 2007 the owners of Art Et Cetera (who now run Zoom Gallery on Main Street in Fleischmanns) discovered Alfredo Santos’ work and exhibited his art. He was flown from San Diego back to Fleischmanns for the opening of the show and old friends came from near and far.  Some brought paintings or sculptures in order to have the now famous artist sign their pieces and other showed up just to shake hands and talk about the days when Santos ran his large studio on Main Street, a hangout for young people visited by stars such as the Young Rascals. 
Santos is survived by his wife, Marianne; his sons, Shannon, Christopher and Rene, and other family members in San Diego.

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