The Fine Artwork of Santos Orellana

A Collision of Culture and Color

Santos Orellana Art Exhibit

Straight from the mind of a Honduras-born artist to a blank canvas, Mayan inspired artwork comes to life wherever Santos Leonel Orellano Paz sets his paintbrush. 

If you travel anywhere in the country- or anywhere between the US and Central America- you may run into the distinctive artwork of Santos, who has a cultured and interesting past. His one-of-a-kind creations, which are unique and diverse, to say the least, are part of an ever-expanding collection that can simply be referred to as “The Art of Santos.”

Santos was born in Santa Barbara, Honduras in 1974 and moved to Newburgh, New York in 1985. There he attended Marist College to study chemistry until graduation in 1999. Santos then went to work for various pharmaceutical companies until his decision to move to California, where he started a successful soap company.


By a quirk of fate, Santos met Joanne Tawfilis, co-founder of Art Miles Mural project, while selling soap at the Fiesta Del Sol festival in 2006. It was after their meeting that Santos was immersed in several art projects and then finally made a decision to pursue his passion for art. 

“I’m constantly reminded that I do things for me and then things just fall into place,” Santos recalled. 

Santos’ years of soaking in the intrinsic cultures of Honduras, New York and California inspired him to do more with his career and personal time. It was because of his unique exposure to Mayan culture, the urban street scene and laid-back coastal lifestyle that Santos sought to express his creativity through art. And there’s no denying his talent. 

Santos has invented a distinct genre of art that transcends the typical paint & canvas tradition. With more color, more imagination and an off-the-wall approach to design, Santos adds an innovative flair to everything he does- from wall art and murals to coffee mugs, 3D sculptures, furniture and even surf boards.

Santos Orellana Paints a Mayan-style Mural

Santos says his art pieces are a reflection of his conscious and subconscious, and that his inspiration comes from his surroundings at the moment he’s creating his art. 

“I just explode in the moment,” Santos said. “I make this product and to me that’s not the art. To me it’s the fact that I got to express that moment.”

But what’s more intriguing than his unique artwork is Santos’ dedication to children. Santos has worked with a number of schools in the San Diego area to get students more involved with art expression. He has painted large-scale murals at Mission Middle School and Hidden Valley Middle School and even makes personal visits to classes to host coloring sessions that center around his fascinating art.

“I love working with kids,” Santos explained. “It’s a huge part of who I am.” 

Santos’ charitable projects reach well beyond just schools in San Diego. In the past, the artist has painted murals in Saudi Arabia as well as a mural at his own elementary school in Honduras. He also plans to travel with a team in Spring 2015 to paint various orphanages in Honduras.   

Santos' Artwork Displayed on a Staircase

Santos’ desire to keep improving is evident in his work. The artist recently completed his most impressive mural to date. It was showcased at the artist’s “Lost and Found” exhibit and spanned a space 175 feet wide by 22.5 feet tall. The project took him five weeks to complete. Santos says the lounge and museum-style nature of the showcase made it unique to San Diego. The solo art exhibit opened Oct. 25, 2014 to approximately 300 people, making Santos the talk of the town. 

“We were quite pleased with the reaction,” Santos said. “People would walk in with their mouths opened. It’s unreal.” 

You can see samples of Santos’ work in cities across the country, including Scottsdale, Arizona, where Santos painted a mural for CBRi Headquarters. And if you're lucky enough, you might just run across some of his work at random locations like Disneyland, as he likes to leave small samples around as “freebies” for anyone who decides to take them home.

Above all, the Art of Santos is a unique blend of the artist’s cultural and creative influences. It’s a new twist on Mayan-inspired art that really speaks to the creative soul. And whether you’re from Central America, New York, or sunny San Diego, there’s something in store for everyone.

Showroom located in Carlsbad Village, Carlsbad and Leucadia.