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An Art Studio in Cuba

June 14, 2016
By Stephen Thomforde
These artists do incredible things with a gouge and linoleum tile

Note: this is the latest in a series of posts about our trip to Cuba in April; please see our other posts about the trip.

While out to lunch in Old Havana, we discovered an artist studio. This was on a much grander scale than most I’d seen. There were at least 10 people working on everything from painting, to printmaking, to etching. What was the most impressive was the amount of equipment. They were very friendly and happy to chat with us about their work.

The first person I met was Alice; she was a student from England who had traveled to Cuba to enroll in a 3 week artist program. She’s learning an acid etching technique for metal. The building and machinery were supplied and paid for by the goverment. The artists themselves needed to pay for their own supplies, but that was miniscule compared to the building. Alice was loving her time in Havana and looked forward to the rest of her stay.

Julian is a print maker. Between my broken Spanish and his much better English, I learned a bit more about his work. From an early age Julian knew that sitting at a desk was not for him. After graduating high school, he began pursuing art seriously. It’s been working well. He’s able to make a good living doing what he loves. In Cuba, it can be challenging to gain access to art materials. Partially because of this, his medium of choice is printing using a linoleum tile base.