Lydia Forte-Santiago

 Lydia Forte Santiago

I was born in Puerto Rico and raised in Long Island, Kings Park, New York where I have fond memories of country life. My father was 35 years my mothers’ senior. My earliest memories are of him taking me everywhere – he essentially raised me.  My father had a passion for art and exposed me to Van Gogh, both the artist and the man.  He inculcated in me the desire to become a portrait painter which he regarded as the most difficult and challenging art form.  My idol and his has always been Rembrandt because of his usage of chiaroscuro technique.  I attended Visual Arts School for fashion illustration and Arts Student League for portrait painting.  I studied with David Leffel, Howard Sanden and European painters Mr. and Mrs. Czinbalmas.  I feel as a painter one never stops learning and I am on a never-ending journey looking for opportunities to challenge my comfort level.  

Lydia resides in Staten Island, NY with her husband, Bart Forte, who is a musician and vocalist.  They manage their own hair design studio, investment properties, and indulge in spending time participating in their multi-faceted leisure pursuits.



1980Arts Student League; Portrature and Still Life Painting
Instructors: David Leftel, Daniel Greene, John Howard Sanden.
1981Private Lessons with European Still Life Painters Mr. & Mrs. Zimbalmous.
1990Cooper Union, and the New School; Illustration and Caricature.
Instructor: Bob Grossman.
1995Snug Harbor, Staten Island: Classes in Still Life and Portrature.
Instructor: Jeanie Meisel.
2001Private Caricature lessons.
Instructor: Steven Wymen.


1979Sotheby Parke Bernet: Televised Auction: The Thirteen Collection Of Art and Antiques (sponsored by Union Carbide).
Oil on canvas, signed, dated, and framed. Title: "Man and the Unknown".
Sold for $1,151.00. Size: 44 1/2" X 34 1/2".
1982The White House, Washington, D.C., private permanent exhibit of President Ronald Reagan, hung prominently in the office of Henry Zuniga, special assistant to the President of the United States.
1983The Federal Building, NYC. "Hispanic Heritage Week". Oil painting of Pope John Paul II exhibited.
1985The Conference House, Staten Island, N.Y. Exhibition of various artists.
Portrait of Borough President Guy Molinari sold to his daughter Susan Molinari.


1981 - 2007Commissions of various paintings were sold; Still Life, Landscape, Portraiture, Children and Pets.
Worked as a Caricaturist in several catering halls and private parties, drawing caricatures of the guests.
1984Worked as a Fashion Illustrator for Bob Mackie Associates.



Letter of Appreciation and Recognition from

The White House

Portrait of President Ronald Reagan


Unique artwork by Forte Santiago