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Charles Santarpia~ Photo Realist Oil Painter

Do you know this place to the left? It’s The Anchor, and it was a landmark 1940’s restaurant in downtown New Haven, Connecticut. It looks like a photo doesn’t it, but it’s not, it’s an oil painting done by Charles Santarpia of Branford, Connecticut.

Charles got laid off when the economy bottomed out in the fall of 2008 and he also decided to kick the smoking habit and he picked up a paint brush at age 30 and never looked back. Charles has never had one art lesson and yet look at his work. His idol is Edward Hopper, he told me he focuses on reflections and details in shadows instead of the lighter spots, the highlights, where most artists focus. He told me he can’t help himself when he’s out and about he sees paintings in everything and has a camera or iphone ready to take shots so he doesn’t lose the images that will make for good paintings later.

As if this amazing talent isn’t enough, he also makes art deco boxes, yep he’s a woodworker, and just because he is mastering the flamenco guitar. All of this rolled up into one guy.131

Charles does a lot of commission work because once folks see his art they want something painted. He says his work sells anywhere from $600.00 up to about $6500.00.  If you look at the detail in his work, it’s unbelievable, one of his paintings has hundreds of bricks in it, each one has detail. I can’t even draw a stick figure, talk about feeling small.

Charles has been told that he has perfect perspective and proportion in his work. Charles is a graduate of Quinnipiac University and studied economics, he is a far cry from that, but is now in a world he loves and can use his money know how there.

So he’s talented in a ton of areas and is smart too, find him on his web site and follow his progress, this is going to be something to watch, homegrown in Connecticut. Oh, and if you happen on his paintings, if you see a man in any of them, that’s him, he paints himself into some of this painting kind of like Alfred Hitchcock, he did a cameo in most of his motion pictures.


These were videos I took of Charles in 2012 when we first met:


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