Santillan holds a Master in Fine Arts in Sculpture from Virginia Commonwealth University and is based in The Netherlands and Ecuador. He has attended residencies at the Delfina Foundation, Jan van Eyck, Fondazione Ratti, Skowhegan, and Seven Below. His works have been exhibited at Carrillo Gil Museum of Art, Nest, STUK, Fundacion ODEON, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Poli/graphic Triennial, Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, Copperfield, Marilia Razuk Gallery, and Oud-Rekem Castle, among others.
Inspired by the accounts of pirates and sea travelers documented in Travelers and Travel Liars 1660-1800 by Percy G. Adams, as well as in other sources, I am currently developing work that focuses on phantom islands that sailors historically disguised as real places in their writings.
In collaboration with scientists, writers and historians, I am attempting to give a physical body to a phantom island. A significant part of this new work was completed during my stay at the Altos de Chavon Residency. The finished work was exhibited at the Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, in Rotterdam.