Kala Iriarte-Santos shares her process

Rogers top artist shares her art process and inspirations.


Rogers is filled with talented students, most of them hidden by the number 1,700. It is the job of a journalist to give those students a platform and get them recognized. This student in particular is worthy of this honor for her extraordinary art skills. This person is Kala Iriarte-Santos. 

When asked about how long Iriarte-Santos has done art for she replied with,

“I’ve been doing art for as long as I can remember,” Iriarte-Santos said.

She also said it really picked up when she started High School and took an art class. She draws every day to hone her craft. Iriarte-Santos is in AP Art with Mr. Gorski which requires her to work every day on projects and deadlines. Just last year she scored a 5 on the AP Art exam. Gorski also said that Iriarte-Santos is one of his top artists.  

Iriarte-Santos specializes in ink and acrylic with a horror and realism art style that has elements of street art and graffiti. Some of her favorite artists include, Shepard Fairey who is the founder of the clothing brand OBEY, he also designed the Barack Obama “Hope” poster, and has collections in The Smithsonian. Another one of her favorites is the English artist Banksy whose real identity is unknown to the public, he creates street art, is a political activist, and uses dark humor in his graffiti. Iriarte-Santos also enjoys the works of Ryan Ashely who is an American tattoo artist that has appeared on the show Ink Masters, she specializes in black and gray designs.  

“When people interact with my art, they have so many interpretations of their own and their own opinions its cool to see people make those connections,” Iriarte-Santos said.

She puts her own meanings and emotions into her art but if someone interprets her art differently, she is cool with it, she believes art can be interpreted in any way and that is why she likes it so much.  

Iriarte-Santos’ inspirations and motivations come from her environment, people, and her collective experiences. Whenever an idea comes into her great mind, she must write it down or sketch a quick outline. She believes that the number one challenge she faces is herself and that she can get into her own head and second guess herself.  

Her advice for a beginner artist is,

“Just Draw everyday doesn’t matter what it is, anything, just keep doing it.”

She also said artists should challenge themselves and assign deadlines to avoid art block, but most important is to be consistent – art is a lifelong practice.

Iriarte-Santos has a great personality and process; she strives for every piece to be her best work. She is a hard worker, and her talent comes with a lot of practice and discipline. Iriarte-Santos was a fun person to talk to and is very approachable. Another great piece of advice she gave that can be applied to anything not just art is,

“Just be responsible.”

Here are samples of her art: