PRIDA Artist of the Month: Luis Cordero Santoni

Luis Cordero Santoni

As a graphic artist Luis designs, produces and sells his own line of silkscreen tee-shirts with Native American Taíno and other Puerto Rican cultural icons. He is a photographer and sells digitized versions of his photographs printed on canvas and metal. He is currently studying printmaking at Taller Boricua under Nitza Tufiño and is developing several works using printmaking techniques.

Luis currently works as a graphics specialist on the MTA transportation project East Side Access, where he is often called upon for construction photography. Luis is also a painter, publisher, and performance arts producer.

In 2013 with Olga Ayala, Lourdes García and Comité Noviembre’s Teresa Santiago he founded Puerto Rican Institute for the Development of the Arts – P.R.I.D.A. an organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of Puerto Rican artists and the arts.

Digital Art Available at El Museo – Taino Zen – Caracaracoli

In 2007, Luis founded Cemi Underground, a bookstore/gift shop located in East Harlem. This became a center of cultural activity as each week saw poetry readings, book signings, films, comedy shows, and other cultural events.

Since 2006 he has led a committee that has coordinated Comite Noviembre’s National Puerto Rican Artisan Fair, which is one of the largest craft fairs outside of Puerto Rico.

His Inspiration
I am inspired to create by the richness of my culture. We can draw on our African roots to create dances and rhythms that can move people out of their seats and into another world. We can draw on our Spanish/European roots to create literature to inspire the world. We can draw on our Native roots to create graphics that had never been seen before. It amazes me when I think of what a small island Puerto Rico is, with so few people yet our artists have created art that can stand side by side with artists in any part of the world…

Codo Litico #2 by Luis Cordero Santoni

Why did you start PRIDA?
I founded PRIDA because there is very little support for Puerto Rican artists on an institutional level. There are a few organizations that support Latino artists and the Puerto Rican artist, just like any other artist that identifies and still has ties to his nation of origin, has his/her own particular needs. PRIDA, I hope, fills that gap.

PRIDA is a volunteer organization because the members have to learn the skills that allow them to survive in the art world. We are pioneers and we count each other’s support. PRIDA artists create opportunities where none exists. PRIDA artists become cultural ambassadors for our people. PRIDA artist’s demand equity funding so that or institutions can survive and provide jobs in our communities.

Cemí Lama by Luis Cordero Santoni

Cemi Lama by Luis Cordero Santoni

I am very proud to have founded PRIDA with Olga Ayala and Lourdes García. The vision to create it found support among several artists who immediately said yes we need this. Thank you Felipe Rangel, Tanya Torres and the current Board of Directors Bill Aguado, Pedro García, Efraín Suárez and Humberto (Pancho) Cintrón.

Contact Luis Cordero Santoni
914 505 5482


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