Born in Valencia, Spain in 1951, Santamans demonstrated at an early age that he was an artistic prodigy. He began his art studies under the tutelage of some of the most important painters in the region, and by the time he was fourteen he was working with the noted pastel artist Professore Benjamin Suria.
His formal training began at the prestigious Academy Barrera of Valencia, and continued in The School of Fine Arts at the Fuster Academy under Dr. Suria. In 1968, he met and began studying with painter Jose Espert, whom Santamans considers his true mentor. Together they formed the ‘Painters of Riberia’ which defined a new era of figurative painting in the region. They presented their first group exhibition in May 1969; before Santamans’ eighteenth birthday.
Though most of his early work was oil on canvas, he switched medium to pastels. The virtue of pastels is that the colors are almost transparent in their brilliance, and the degree of subtlety that they afford results in shadows of nuance is unachievable in other mediums. Extremely delicate by nature, there are both enormous technical and aesthetic challenges for the pastel artist to overcome.
His current work involves nudes and still-lifes. He works from life in his ‘natura morte’ paintings, and paints from natural light. Critics and viewers comment on how alive Santamans’ paintings seem. They possess a clarity that is three- dimensional- as if the objects could be lifted out of the canvas. His nudes are sensuous and seem lifelike. He achieves intense depth of color penetration, yet his work remains a delicate play of light and shadow.