Melanie Piech
Frida Cano
Jeffrey Songco
Kimia Kline
Djavan Santos

student profile

Name: Djavan Santos
Program: Design and Technology, BFA
Hometown: Los Angeles

“SFAI really opened my eyes to what art could be.”

“Before coming to SFAI, I had a narrow view of what I understood art to be,” says Djavan Santos, who, like many kids, grew up drawing and painting. But in his first semester, he took Intro to Digital Sound with visiting faculty Andrew Benson. “That really opened my eyes to what art could be and the broad spectrum of what other artists in the world were doing,” he says. “I felt really drawn to experiment with new technologies and the intersection of art and technology.”

In 2009, SFAI received a grant for the development of a digital platform to facilitate new media collaborations between institutions in San Francisco and Paris, and Djavan, now a Design and Technology major, has participated in the resulting projects. For A/S/L, SFAI students worked with the art group CiTU in Paris, using the video chat website Chatroulette as a framework for spontaneous artistic interactions, performance, and discourse. For Hyphen, SFAI partnered with students from the art school Gobelins L'Ecole de L'Image to develop interactive media installations. “It’s really interesting to me what role technology plays in our social lives and in connecting geographies,” says Djavan. “What do geographic borders mean in the age of the Internet? What does it mean for someone to be in Paris and someone to be in San Francisco if I see you on my computer screen and we can make work together?”

Djavan will continue to explore these questions from Hamburg, Germany, where he is currently participating in the HFBK Art School Alliance, a prestigious study abroad program in which seven students from renowned institutions around the world live and work together. The Alliance aligns perfectly with his interest in cross-cultural art and the appealing risk of collaboration: “You can sort of jump in this pool with other people and see what happens.”

That willingness to try new things has been a big part of Djavan’s SFAI experience. “You don’t need to know exactly what you want to do before you come here,” he says. “There are a lot of pathways for you to take, and the teachers and staff will really help you find out what’s best for you.”