My father was a political prisoner and served seven years in Castro’s prisons. His release came after sustaining critical injuries, rendering him useless to the state. Years after his release, our family acquired visas to Spain, and with a few gold Spanish coins my father swallowed before leaving the island, we were able to rent an apartment in Madrid, where we lived for two years, making the best of a difficult situation, earning our daily bread by selling sandwiches outside the Plaza de Toros.
It was in Madrid where I was exposed for the first time to the art world and the amazing architecture of a centuries old city.
I came to the United States as an immigrant when I was nine years old. We went from Cuba to Spain, then Spain to New York. The sharp contrast of my impoverished Cuba with the splendor of Spain, overwhelmed my senses. It seemed master sculptors and painters created the entire city of Madrid just for my delight. After arriving in New York, I found a different kind of wonderful, where buildings touched the clouds, and modern works replaced the old masters. I discovered shiny colored spray paint was used instead of sable brushes and pigments. New York is where I fell in love with pop art. I learned from innovators, such as Lichtenstein and Warhol, whose paintings hung in galleries. I admired Haring’s works in the subway tunnels, as my friends and I were throwing pieces up on every bit of blank wall we could find.
Eventually we settled in Miami, like many other Cubans. …so close and yet so far. I find the bright colors of Miami’s evening sky, tropical setting, and mix of my native Cuba’s culture with that of my adoptive mother America’s, comforting.
Painting is my passion. The act of creation has always been a source of emotional and psychological therapy. It relaxes and thrills me at once. I feel energy radiating from the canvas with each brush stroke. The subjects voices whisper how they feel, and ask to be freed from the heavy white veil of canvas and gesso where they are trapped.
I fixate on the beauty of the human body, and the expressive nature of the face. My goal is to portray the dichotomy of strength and vulnerability in people, especially women, as this combination moves me deeply. For nearly two decades, my main source of inspiration has been my wife, my muse. It is her soul that I share with the world in every painting. All of these things have inspired me, and collectively, are the reason I paint. Andres