When a craving for some delicious Mexican food comes to mind most people turn to Manuel’s in Aptos for a taste of the traditional dishes served by our friends south of the border.
However, a majority of them did not know that the owner of the popular restaurant, Manuel Santana, was also a prolific artist at heart and whipped up creations not only with his kitchen utensils, but with a paintbrush as well.
Sunday is the last chance to catch a glimpse of Santana’s work from his shop on Mission Street in Santa Cruz. More than 100 paintings, prints and sculptures are on display and this is the first time such a large collection of his pieces has been shown publically.
His daughter Angelina was in the studio and is excited to give people a chance to come in and admire her dad’s artwork.
“It feels really, really good,” she said. “It took us a year to clean out the studio because he had a lifetime of things in here, so it was just a really big project that my brother and I and a lot of our family and friends helped to get the studio to this point.”
After this weekend a greater amount of the artwork will be moved down to San Juan Bautista where it will be displayed in an art gallery and inside Santana’s other restaurant, Jardines de San Juan.
Angelina also mentioned that some of her dad’s art was inspired from a trip he took to Oaxaca, Mexico and Manuel picked up some tricks for black and white paintings during his stay.
Some of Santana’s art can carry a political meaning or have a reoccurring theme of women and dogs, but not just any dog. His name is actually Sammy and the Jack Russell terrier once belonged to the Santana family.
Apart from Sammy’s face being all over some of the paintings Angelina also remembered the times when she left the country to hang out at La Casa de la Cultura with her dad.
“I went to Mexico with him a few times so that I think was the coolest thing I got to experience,” she said. “He was on a 13 city tour in Mexico and I went to some of the openings. I went to the one in Tijuana and one in Morelia and it was awesome. It was a lot more students and it was definitely a big event.”
You can visit the exhibit at: