Jonathan Santlofer began his career exhibiting complex abstract paintings in 1977. However, his recent work focuses on more mysterious and realistic depictions of popular culture. This stylistic change occured in 1989, when a fire destroyed five years' worth of his artwork, after which he shifted focus toward collage and portraiture. Santlofer's work often references multiple elements of pop culture within a single piece, drawing upon the similarities between vastly different figures and moments. The juxtaposition within his paintings, carvings, drawings, and prints questions supposedly-known realities. Also a published writer, his visual art has a similarly narrative aspect, in that he conveys stories through drawn film stills and collages.
Sandlofer’s work can be found in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Art institute of Chicago, and Tokyo’s Institute of Contemporary Art. Sandlofer has lectured at New York institutions such as The Whitney, MOMA, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and MOCA in Los Angeles. In addition, he has received two National Endowment for the Arts grants, served as a Visiting Artist at the American Academy in Rome, and currently serves on the board of Yaddo.