Jon Santos is a graphic designer and the founder of Common Space, a New York City-based design studio that has developed work for civic arts organizations For Freedoms, Ontopo, and Werner Herzog’s Whitney Biennial installation among others. Independently, Santos works on both self-initiated and commissioned works seeking to expand graphic design beyond traditional media towards participatory, performative, improvisational, and experiential modes.He was nominated for a James Beard Foundation award for Outstanding Restaurant Graphics and was a recipient of an AIGA Gold Medal. He has exhibited widely in group exhibitions at BAM, NY, Walker Art Center, MN and the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum, NY and his work has appeared in publications such as New York Times, VMagazine, Dossier Journal, Paper, Casa Vogue, Bidoun, the Fader, Casa Brutus, Communication Arts, +81 and I.D. Magazine.
For Messages for the City: Dreaming Forward
About The End of the World or the Beginning of the Next: “When I first spoke with the For Freedoms team in early 2016, we talked about how public art could possibly have a critical framework that is easy to understand, perhaps by people who do not study the arts or are not versed with a sense of criticality in what they see or what they read. This idea that some ideas are meant to trigger emotional responses or create some kind of decisive response. With this billboard, I am really compelled to think of messages that are "designed" for me to respond to but carry a sense of "vagueness" or "indecision". It may even be that a particular idea or event is both good and bad and that typically billboard messaging does not leave room for contemplation. Thinking back on 2016 and where we are at in this moment, it's possible that the end of the world triggered the beginning of the next which arguably is starting again at this very moment.”