“Art is a world without limitations, where the only important thing is my imagination and how I transfer it into everybody else’s eyes.”
WAS THERE A PIVOTAL MOMENT WHEN YOU DECIDED TO FOLLOW YOUR PATH AS AN ARTIST?
I grew up in Santa Clara, Cuba, and became fascinated with art early on. I remember helping my grandfather make charcoal from the Aroma tree. I always looked forward to helping him because it was a way for me to get free drawing material. I would pick up empty cigarette boxes and brake them so I could use the white surface inside the box to draw.
I enjoyed drawing with charcoal on different surfaces; it helped capture my passion for art.
CAN YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORK FOR US?
I have developed a unique art style with a great sense of artistic freedom. My work has a cubism-inspired approach with a surrealist composition marked by a classic sense of balance. I can highlight details, protrusions, and light effects using suggestive colors and fragmented shapes. In addition, I create in my work motifs of bohemian Cuban nightlife and architectural landscape with a distinctive style and unmistakable touch of music.
WHAT DOES YOUR WORK AIM TO SAY?
I can express my dreams and share my culture and my love for music through my brush. I can tell my stories using circles, lines, and colors versus words. I can communicate with the viewer, and ultimately, I can share with the spectators my rich culture, it’s unique music style, and it’s heritage.
HOW DO YOU THINK YOUR WORK FITS WITHIN SOCIETY IN OUR PRESENT TIME?
My work fits in our present times because I am interested in representing various aspects of Cuba, including its society, cultural life, and particularly its music because it reflects the history and part of the country’s heritage.
WHEN LOOKING BACK, WHAT ARTWORKS COME TO MIND THAT MOST RELATE TO YOUR LIFE STORY?
The artwork of Antonio Gattorno is one of the works I relate to my own art life. First, because he embraced European modernism using a lot of surrealism, like Dali, he also represents various aspects of Cuban society using a personal version of modern primitivism.
WHO ARE YOUR BIGGEST INFLUENCES?
Even though today, much of my work is inspired by my love for Cuban music, my work has also been influenced by Picasso, Gattorno, and Salvador Dali. Their style shattered traditional forms of artistic representation, reminding me of my broken memories of my life in Cuba. In addition, their art inspired and informed my work as an artist, allowing me to break and reconstruct my pieces.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR CREATIVE PROCESS?
I always paint my canvas with a thin layer of red iron oxide because I dislike painting on white. Then I do drawing with charcoal directly on the canvas. Once I finish drawing with charcoal, I go over with Prussian Blue, and this is one of my favorite parts of the process because I can start to see everything coming alive. Then I put some colors to create some value and to have an idea of how the final painting will look.
The most challenging part of the process is when I’m adding the final layers of paint, going back and forth, and deciding the different colors, values, and final compositions. In the end, through rhythm and motion in my work, I try to mirror the experience of freedom found in Cuban music.
WHAT VISUAL REFERENCES DO YOU DRAW UPON IN YOUR WORK?
As visual references, I draw from the work of an artist like Picasso, Braque, Antonio Gattorno, and Salvador Dalí. The style of these painters broke the traditional form of artistic representation, and this reminds me of my fractured memories of my life in Cuba.
In a way, these artists have inspired and informed my work as a painter, which has allowed me to work focusing mainly on music. Because as the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Without music, life would be a mistake.”
ANY UPCOMING PROJECTS?
I recently had the honor to be invited by the United States Ambassador William W. Popp to be part of the outreach program through art between the United States and Guatemala. My work was part of the exhibition at ambassador Popp’s residence in Guatemala, where art was the conduit to bring peace and collaboration between the two countries. I was able to merge myself into the culture, and I had the opportunity to meet wonderful people. This opened new doors for me, and I’ll be exhibiting in the future in one of the museums in Guatemala.