"My decorating taste is 'gothcentric,' I suppose," New York-based artist Desi Santiago says. "I'm always drawn to things that evoke a sinister mood whether it be direct or through a charming, cartoon guise." Inside his Harlem home, you'll find funerary emblems, santería talismans, and, oh yeah, his old club kid ID. As a teen growing up in Newark, Santiago says he'd take the PATH into Manhattan every day after school and, inspired by the goings-on at legendary clubs like The Pyramid and Mars Bar, he began creating an over-the-top persona -- Desi Monster -- and hanging out at spots like the Limelight and Palladium with a crew that included famous (and infamous) scenesters like Michael Alig and James St. James. And while you still might find Santiago at a roving warehouse dance party every now and then, you're more likely to see him at an art opening or fashion show, two cultural spheres that he's comfortable moving fluidly back-and-forth. His work includes sculptures, costumes and experiential installations seen everywhere from the Met (masks and headpieces in McQueen: Savage Beauty), to Paris' Musee des Arts Decoratifs (an elaborate installation for the Louis Vuitton/Marc Jacobs retrospective) and Art Basel Miami (a massive takeover of the Lords South Beach and transformation of the hotel into, as Santiago says, "a fortune telling creature" that bore a striking resemblance to his black dog, Gypsy). PAPER's Rebecca Smeyne had the chance to see some of his art up close in person -- along with his santería machete, an art piece featuring a "voguing confederate demon" and a collection of owls -- when she recently stopped by his home.

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