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Life According to Poteleche


The genius of this artist has become a benchmark of creativity and Dominican everyday life.

Rafael de los Santos is every inch a publicist. His years of work as a creative person led him to refine the way he perceives the world and he found in the caricature the best way of expression, this is the man behind the signature Poteleche.

Throughout these 15 years in the advertising world, Poteleche has been part of the history of great brands, describing his work for the beer brand President as creative. He worked for this brand during eight years at Young & Rubicam Damaris.

“The nickname comes from a former boss. In the first agency I worked I carried out a milk carton-shaped portfolio, it was pretty ugly indeed, but I was 19 and it was looking for a job for the first time, I had to call attention somehow and I got it. Over time my boss said, “call that poteleche...” and so it all began” tells Rafael.

In 2013 he became independent as professional, and joined to Modafoca design study to set up TURISTA, his own advertising agency where some works have been made for big brands.

“We have spent more than ten years working on and building a relationship of mutual respect for our work; a beautiful love story. Now as we are independent, Modafoca for design and Poteleche for advertising, and we began to work very young, the question arises: Where am I going now? In my case, the right call was to become independent, but I did not imagine doing it alone, it is impossible to get me back on my feet this way. In the middle of some conversations the possibility of a partnership came up. We share many professional and personal opinions, like walking through life looking through someone else’s eyes who sees everything for the first time, getting excited about things that others might ignore. Hence the name. “

A new generation of urban art

It was his illustrations that have set the pace of his career and gave him a place among the public since 2007; the drawings shared in his blog a couple of years ago had enough attention allowing him to make his first solo exhibition entitled La Casa del Garabato and since 2009 he decides along with some friends to paint on the street so as to learn the technique he has been a fan since his childhood.

“As a child I used to imitate graffiti typography” wild style “in my notebooks of elementary school. However, it was not until I was twenty-odd years, I decided to join to those friends who were already painting walls before I did, and I couldn’t stop any more,” Poteleche recalls.

“I’ve always been a fan of street art, and we started requesting what walls could be painted a couple of years ago, with the permission of the owners; you can ask for permission. Sometimes we go with a group of friends to a province and we ask people through social networks for a place to paint and many of them appear. “

Certainly, the lines of this artist is unmistakable, and there are many parts of the country where you can see walls that acted as a canvas for his creations; some resulted from creative spontaneity but others were ordered in advance.

In fact, Poteleche was invited to represent the Dominican Republic in an international festival of street art for the first time in 2013: Los Muros Hablan in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Here, he shares with high-caliber international artists and performs his biggest piece of art so far. Last November, those who went through the Megacentro in Santo Domingo Este witnessed a fight very similar to David versus Goliath.

Undoubtedly, this has been the largest mural painted by the author, and the feat was celebrated with an exhibition of the main murals made by the creative Rafael de los Santos, where more than 30 images showed the work of this urban muralist which is characterized by mixing various disciplines of art and creativity.

This exhibition was good for visitors to appreciate the works of art made by the artist exhibited in different murals distributed in various parts of the country, in the United States, as well as some of the pieces of art that were exhibited at the International Festival of Urban Art of San Juan in Puerto Rico.

Santa Barbara in the Colonial area is a very novel project in which he also participated. This neighborhood had lost the magnificence of its best years and thanks to the initiative of Modafoca and Image Center, its walls regained life by the hand of a group of urban artists, including Poteleche.

In addition to Painting DR walls project, an initiative of the organization I love DR dedicated to promote Dominican identity and to rescue its values and set of traditions, customs and artistic expressions that define the country where more than 19 artists participated.

In Samana, for example, artists painted murals on the seafront, in the multipurpose, City Hall and the Parque de los Indios, covering more than 7,000 square feet; walls and public areas were renovated in La Vega with a bright and colorful iconographic deployment. Providing a proposal with diverse and innovative styles which received a warm welcome from the population, the event was distributed in five locations: Induveca facade in Pedro A. Rivera Avenue, Parque del Estudiante, School Padre E. Lamarche, Casa de la Cultura and Morillo King Hospital, by the side street Imbert.

“I think that besides the aesthetic value it brings, it is also the process in which people stand in front of the piece, analyze and discuss their point of view about it. It is a thought exercise for people, something that would not happen if there were only a blank wall. It also provides sense of unity, people are took by surprise when you arrive to a town or part of the city and say you want to paint a wall for nothing, it is so cool, “says Rafael.

The Dominican Republic in a vignette

The work of “Pote” revolves around ideas that connect with people, turning the everyday life, breathing in any neighbourhood of the country, into illustrations and art lines. In this way the artist assures to link with as many people as possible conveying emotions through his drawings.

He defines himself as “a Dominican who does not like to keep ideas in his head”, that’s why when he is not painting murals, he draws. His vignettes have become the must see of those who enjoy humor with criticism overtones.

Every day, his 116,000 Instagram followers and many others on Facebook and Twitter are waiting to see what caricature will bring happiness their day. “It’s not easy to make people laugh. I come from a family of very funny people and we have always made each other laugh, but while I was growing up I realized that it was not so usual, and it was relatively easier for me than for other people, it is something I’ve used in my work of advertising and illustration. “

In the meantime, Poteleche also works as DJ from time to time he is a fan of electronic music and loves to give good vibe to others, sometimes he schedules his agenda to make people jumps.

“I don’t sleep much, far from being healthy I sleep very often with my laptop, notebook and pencils on the bed. It is really hard but I can find the time to do the things I like to do and yet to spend time with my family and my girlfriend, although I recognize that I must constantly remind myself that it must be a balance. “

Making his best effort, this Dominican has managed to stay still through a continuous work in various disciplines of art and creativity, becoming a reference and a voice through which many Dominicans identify with.



TEXTO: Geizel Torres; IMÁGENES: Suresh