July 13, 2023 - September 2, 2023
ArtWalk and 2nd Artist Reception: Thursday August 10, 5-8pm
We invite you to the second reception of The Summer of iZM
Thursday August 10, 5-8pm
Meet the Artist, enjoy the colors and talent of iZM PRiZM’s painting,
buy one! Get some authentic food from
Tony’s Grocery Store in Holyoke.
And enjoy the vibrant spanish melodies of Tony Silva.
And if you are interested in iZM PRiZM’s portrait skills, bring a photograph of your favorite subject: spouse, children, Grand’ Ma, pet.
We commissioned iZM to do a portrait of Maizie, and are so happy with the result, I mean, look at her eyes!
My name is Orlando Santos. As an artist, I go under the name of iZM PRiZM.
I was born in Holyoke, MA 49 years ago to Victor and Romualda Santos, migrants from Puerto Rico. At the age of 6 months I had brain tumors – as a parent now I can’t imagine the stress my parents were under. I was cared for at Boston Children’s Hospital and have a bit of history there as a child. I still reside in Holyoke and have most of my life. I was always inspired artistically by living in this city, seeing so many mixed cultures, fashion, cuisines and the natural beauty of living in Western MA. I also lived several years in NYC, where we all know or can imagine, have much to inspire us all and especially as an artist.
My artist name started as a joke. I wanted to create my own cult or religion (as a joke) following, ie: Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and Judaism. I figured why not create OiZM, changing the s into a z, influenced by the musician Erykah Badu’s album called “Baduizm” and I thought it was a nice way of spelling it. My idea of iZM is my own way of “doing things” which carries over to my art. Ironically Ism, with an s, its definition has to do with a political, religious or artistic movement. iZM, with a z, has a definition all of its own, but I’ll let you read up on that one.
I started painting for fun with my daughter, which is why you’ll find a W hiding within all my artwork, as her name is Wynter. Also in many of my paintings you can find the number 4 or four flowers/four dots/four of anything because I have four kids; 3 boys and 1 girl, who’s the youngest. I was one of 4 children in my family. 3 boys and 1 girl. I was the 3rd boy and my sister, like my daughter, was the youngest as well.
This has been my 4th year into painting. I started by using sketch pads with charcoals and cray-pas. During those times I wasn’t my best artist and it showed in my work, at least to me: the work was very dark, both in colors and theme. Full of pain. I wasn’t being good to myself at the time. I put that self-abuse behind me for good 8 years ago this past June, and my paintings evolved into a more colorful and digestible class of art that most anyone can relate to and enjoy. It’s surreal to look back and see that life story told in my artwork alone.
Being that I am from Puerto Rican descent, I hadn’t seen a lot of people like me in the arts. I always looked for that and I looked to the greats to inspire me. I am influenced by all genres of artists from Basquiat to Andy Warhol to Bob Dylan in their lyrical and storytelling imagery. But overall, the things that I see & hear are primarily from music. Music is what I am most passionate about, equal to or maybe more than my art but they go hand in hand. All types of music from the Carpenters to Jay-Z. I’m also very inspired from beauty and the pain I witness in life; both physical and mental pain of others, and of course in myself.
I’m excited for the art culture seen & how it is booming in local restaurants, businesses, events, and other establishments. Creating art gives one a great feeling of accomplishment, well if you actually finish the projects that you start, haha! But one eventually does. I feel one of the reasons local art took off in recent years was due to the Covid pandemic. Because of this pandemic people were required to stay home, so people took to their laptops, tablets, phones more. Through social media outlets, arts and music became objects sought out more & more by everyday average people. That’s how I was able to take the time to disseminate my work on social media platforms. Ironically, the pandemic helped my art take off tremendously.
I’m just a local artist with a dream like many others. I didn’t have a lot of resources or experience when I began, but the local people & businesses in Western Mass helped me get to where I am now. Western MA and beyond has recognized me into this culture as well as Andrew Brows Jackalope and HighBrow Wood Fired Kitchen, the Majestic in Northampton as well as other establishments, and of course now debuting at Big Red Frame’s Elusie Gallery. It’s a great feeling of accomplishment and acceptance on many levels to be where I’m at today. I’d like to thank Mr. Jean-Pierre Pasche for this opportunity and all of you that have taken the time to come to our exhibit.