With his graffiti-esque messages of love and positivity, artist Marco Santini is charming fans in the fashion world and beyond.
A sports injury may have sidelined Marco Santini’s college athletics career, but true to his optimistic nature, the 30-something athlete-turned-artist, who is spreading messages of positivity while enjoying a burgeoning career as one of fashion’s favorite artists, hasn’t looked back. Perhaps you’ve come across his work on Instagram, where he boasts nearly 14k followers, or even spotted one of his many murals around town (see the cheerful, pink message-filled heart on the door of Brooklyn’s PS9). He’s even lent what his hometown paper, the Bergen, New Jersey record referred to as “The Midas Touch” to a V Magazine cover featuring Kendall Jenner, which the model found almost “too beautiful to sign.”
However, Santini’s career path isn’t entirely out of left field. His mother is a choreographer “who can draw anything she looks at”, his father an architect, and he was “fortunate to grow up in such an encouraging, creative environment.” “They would never ask me what I was creating, only why I was creating,” says Santini. His star rose significantly in 2017 he was selected to be Maxim Magazine’s artist-in-residence at Art Basel. Shortly after, when he received several requests from adventurous fashionistas looking to make their Birkin bags and Louboutins stand out from the pack, Santini realized just how great the demand for customization was. Now, his bold designs can be found on everything from yoga pants to hoodies, boasting artful configurations of positive, motivational words such as “beauty, truth, future, love, and fire” . Appropriate for the artist, who studied Linguistic Anthropology at Brown.
For Santini, who just celebrated 10 years in New York City, inspiration is all around. One of his most recent patterns is interspersed with stars, a contrarian message to those who say they can’t be seen in New York. “I fundamentally disagree with that,” says Santini. “If you feel that’s the case then you’re not looking hard enough to see the stars amongst you.” Santini is certainly poised to become one of them, though despite his wide range of work and collaborations (Candles! Mugs! Sneakers!), he is quick to point out that he’s turned down his fair share of offers and has yet to partner with a brand whose mission doesn’t align with his own.