Jan 062012


Juan Lázaro Gutiérrez Momblas is one of the Cuban artists we met by chance one afternoon wandering along the interesting streets of Havana. In Havana, it doesn’t matter if you lose your way because you will always find your destination in the end and then you will find your way back home again.  And while you are lost, you will be surrounded by the constant rhythm of the city, it’s music, its art, its crumbling beauty, its hustle, its charming people.  This the thing I love about Havana.  There is always something new to discover in this historical city.

On this day, we found or stumbled upon Juan Lázaro’s studio which he shares with a couple of other artists.  Young artists in Cuba survive in the big city of Havana by getting together and renting the front room of someone’s house during the day time. The owner of the house is able to make some money from this transaction.  They rent out their front room during the day to artists who share the cost of the rent between themselves.  The owners earn a little income, the artists have a place to create and to sell their work that is away from the homes they share with their families.  The lover of art is the visitor to the studio and will be able to find art and then buy the art work he or she loves.  It’s like the circle of life.  Infinite.  It works out for everyone.  They say in Cuba, if the Chinese have not already invented it, the Cubans will.  Out of sheer necessity.  This is what is known as Cuban humor.

The walls of the studio are adorned with the works of Juan Lázaro Gutiérrez and the works of the other artists who share this little studio in the front room of someone’s house.  When  I entered Juan Lázaro’s studio/gallery, he was busy standing at an easel sketching out the beginnings of another of his works of art. A couple of his friends sat around.  Music, always present in Havana, was playing on a CD player in the background somewhere.

The subjects of his paintings are objects from his daily life in Cuba, a chair, fruit and what comes as a result of his meditation.  Sometimes he paints portraits of beautiful dark women whose skin has been blessed by the sun.  In the photograph above, he kneels beside the painting he would not give up.  It was his favorite.  Perhaps he loved this woman once.  I don’t know. I loved the unique colors of this work of art; a woman, dark and golden from the sun, wearing a brilliant blue sweater and a bowl of tropical fruit as a headpiece.

I asked him if he had more paintings and he ran off quickly to his home and brought back more to show me.

Juan Lázaro was born in 1973 in the town of  Manuel Lazo,  Pinar del Río in western Cuba.   He is a prolific Cuban artist and has held many art exhibitions within Cuba.  His paintings have also been a part of Cuban art exhibitions  abroad, in countries including Peru, Canada and France.  Some of his paintings will be added to our page on Cuban art for sale in the near future.

You’ll find the studio of Juan Lázaro Gutiérrez located at Empredado No. 355, in old Havana.

  2 Responses to “A visit to the studio of Lázaro Gutiérrez in Havana”

  1. It really aoynns me that you guys really are that shallow to believe that Cuba even needs iPads?! I mean it’s probably one of the most respected place on earth in my opinion . And to judge Cuba because of its unpainted buildings and lack of supplies is the outcome of the ignorance and ugliness of america and England and Britain and new Zealand . All of those places are so unhappy that their bad attitudes are like illnesses. Cuba lack material because of the damned embargo, if America could just stand up and actually be the super hero country it calls itself maybe Cuba’s environment could change. But that doesn’t mean try to change the culture or perspectives of people living there. Plus it’s way worse in the ghettos in America then in Cuba. I believe Cuba is so beautiful and amazing that it makes you want to cry and ask whats happen to the rest of the world?! So for once in your life stop judging and do something worthy of yourself. And the worst part is that I’m not even Cuban , I’m from England.

  2. Francilene, Cuba is certainly beautiful and amazing. One just has to travel there and one will fall in love with the island.

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