Cuba con Leche

A Rick Garcia Launch

Miriam Fernandes Gallery, a new open space located in Miami’s Design District, launches with “Cuba Con Leche” by Rick Garcia on November 14. A Miami native with “Cuban blood,” Garcia developed his unique Pop style in acrylic on canvas by incorporating Cuban and American pop cultural icons with bright colors, extraordinary details from every day life, and a key Cuban map within each work. He’s most known for being the Absolut artist of the 90’s, and as a three time official Artist of the Grammy Awards.

For Garcia, Cuba embodies a vast amount of visual images which inspires him to create paintings where he combines the nostalgic era with a contemporary bright pop art style. Architecture, vintage cars, music, color, and a variety of other aspects come together in these dynamic compositions.

SocialMiami had the opportunity to ask Garcia some questions about a variety of subjects including Cuba, his inspirations and, of course, Cuba con Leche.

SM: When and how did you discover your artistic talents?

Nine years old is as early as I can remember. May have been earlier, but nine is when I remember most that my school day was spent drawing more than paying attention in class. This continued for the remainder of my school years.

SM: Name three artists that inspire you.

Nature is the best inspiration; then as far as famous human artists go: Salvador Dali, Picasso, and Jean Michel Basquiat…There are lesser known artists and photographers who inspire me just as well.

SM: The details in your drawings are very precise, do you use a tracing method or is it all freehand?

Usually I use reference pictures that I shoot myself. Sometimes I use a grid to enlarge a drawing, sometimes a projection of a drawing followed by free hand.

SM: Your mix of American culture and Cuban culture are expressed in your paintings, please elaborate….

I was born in Miami and my parents were born in Cuba making my blood 100% Cuban grown. My first language was Spanish and I grew up with American friends. I have had a strong urge to move on from the way I painted in the past and become closer to my Cuban heritage. Born in the USA of Cuban parents makes this mix of two different cultures unique and very inspiring.

SM: The beautiful women in your paintings, who are they and what do they represent?

I use my family when possible as models and when not, it’s another face I find somewhere else or I make one up. Cuban women in Cuba pride themselves on looking great no matter how much they lack in having access to clothes and makeup. Two things that had such great impact on my last trip to Cuba were the women and music.

SM: I notice some of the images in your paintings are classic cars, does this symbolize something for you?

The classic cars, vintage signs, old magazine ads and other found images, are a part of the nostalgia I like to use in the mix of completing a painting with contemporary modern images.

SM: What does the Cuba con Leche series mean to you?

Originally after Cuba became such an inspiration for me to connect with my Cuban roots, then followed the urge to inform and/or raise the interest to the general public about that unique and amazing history and culture of Cuba. The name comes from a twist of the words “cafe con leche” a request for coffee and milk which Cubans use as sort of a mantra.

SM: This large piece that you’re working on…can you give us any insight on what the finished product will be? Or do you know?

This new large one is basically telling me what to add to it. Normally I have a vision and proceed to complete the work. This one is different and exciting and I surprise myself as to what develops. I try to keep it as spontaneous as possible. This one is impulse-driven.

Miriam Fernandes Gallery celebrates the opening of Cuba con Leche November 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. At 6:00, Edwin Stirman will speak about Cuban Pop.

The gallery is located at 3618 N.E. 2nd Avenue in the Miami Design District. Hours are Tuesday-Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. (Sunday and Monday by appointment.) Call to RSVP for the opening 305-573-9531.

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