ESPERA | 90×130 cm


The Music of Cuba in Color

An interview with Yunior Hurtado Torres


With Mike Foldes

Q) When did you get interested in art? 

A) Desde niño siempre he querido hacer cosas, copiar de lo que nos rodea y dibujarlo a mi manera. No tenia idea que fuera arte, solo sabia que quería hacerlo todo el tiempo.

From childhood I have always wanted to do things, copy of what surrounds us and draw my way. I had no idea it was art, I just knew I wanted to do all the time.

Q) What are the subjects of your earlier work? Have you ever consciously made “revolutionary” art – or Counter-Revolutionary Art?

A) Mis temas anteriores fueron sobre el alimento y temas sobre la naturaleza humana. Nunca me ha interesado hacer un arte politico, soy muy pasivo. 

My previous topics were themes about food and about human nature. never interested me make political art, I am very passive.

Q) Who were your primary personal influences? Family? Friends? Teachers?

A) Cuando empecé a estudiar arte a los 11 años de edad, me influenciaba de los mismos estudiantes, pero de años mayores y estábamos haciendo  competencias para ver quien dibujaba mejor y nos ayudaba a mejorar las técnicas. 

When I started studying art at 11 years old, I was influenced by the students themselves, but years later we were doing competitions to see who drew better and that helped us to improve techniques.

Q) Who were your artistic influences?

A) Mi primera influencia fueron los renacentistas, Miguel Ángel sobre todo. Después los impresionistas y postimpresionistas, Vincent Van Gogh hasta Gerhard Richter.

My first influence was the Renaissance, Miguel Angel especially. After that, Impressionist and Post-Impressionist Vincent Van Gogh and Gerhard Richter.

Q) You grew up under the Castro regime… Did you find the educational or social systems were highly supportive of your art education?

A) Si yo he nacido y criado en Cuba con el regimen de Castro. Y desde luego la educación artística en Cuba ha sido todo para mi carrera. Me enseño todo lo que se y sobre todo porque tuve muy buenos maestros. 

Yes, I was born and raised in Cuba with Castro’s regime. And of course arts education in Cuba has been there through all my career. I learned all that and especially because I had very good teachers.

Q) When did you move to Peru, and did you find work there before you left Cuba? 

A) No, yo venia a Perú por turismo hasta que me quede por amor. 

No, I came to Peru for tourism, and then I fell in love.

Q) What is the art community in Cuba like these days? Are you in touch with friends there who also are artists?

A) El arte en Cuba siempre ha estado muy bien desarrollado. Los artistas todo el tiempo experimentan e investigan sobre sus propuestas artísticas. Hay muchos pintores, escultores y también los artistas de nuevos medios que trabajan con instalaciones interactivas.  Cada 2 años se celebra la bienal de la Habana que es uno de los eventos mas significativos en el arte latinoamericano. También el arte contemporáneo de Cuba que se reúnen artistas de todo el mundo y también los artistas cubanos que ya no están en la isla. Tengo a todos mis amigos ahí y con muy buenas obras.  

Art in Cuba has always been very well developed. The artists all the time experience and investigate on its artistic proposals. There are many painters, sculptors and artists working with new media interactive installations. Every two years the Biennial of Havana which is one of the most significant events in Latin American art is celebrated. Also the contemporary art of Cuba that artists from around the world and Cuban artists who are no longer on the island meet. I have all my friends there and with good works.


Yunior Hurtado Torres/Artist



Q) What do you think the opening of Cuba-US relations will do to the nature of art in Cuba?

A) Me parece estupendo que finalmente se establezcan amistades con nuestros vecinos y que realmente vengan cambios favorables para la isla. Y en el arte va ser nuevos intercambios y experiencias para los artistas.

I think it’s great that finally  friendships are established with our neighbors and favorable changes can really come to the island. And in art there will be new exchanges and experiences for artists.

Q) Of course the colors in your paintings are exceptionally intense and the subjects often include a sort of collage of color and form. Where or how did you discover or create that effect?

A) En realidad es un mescal de todo lo que va en mi vida, lo que me gusta lo que no me gusta, experiencias. Pero los colores para mi siempre han sido algo único,  estupendo, aunque vivamos rodeados de ellos siempre hay mucho por descubrir. Lo que hago lo he aprendido con los años sentándome cada día frente al lienzo pintado. 

Actually it is a mixture of everything that goes in my life, what I like what I do not like experiences. But the colors for me have always been something unique, great, even though we live surrounded by them there is always plenty to discover. What I’ve learned over the years every day sitting in front of the painted canvas.

Q) Do you have musical influences? If so, what are they, and what kind of music do you listen to most while you work?

A) Escucho todo tipo de música, pop, electronica, salsa, latina, los clásicos  pero la que siempre prefiero para trabajar es el jazz. 

Listen to all kinds of music, pop, electronica, salsa, Latin, classical but always prefer to work is jazz.

Q) How different is Lima from Havana, with regard to the students you have taught and are teaching?

A) En realidad no existen diferencias por ser de un país o de otro, siempre hay estudiantes mejores y peores.

In reality there is no difference being of one country or another, there’s always best and worst students.

Q) How different are the audiences? A group of poet friends were in Ecuador recently and said the Latin Americans/Ecuadoreans, were very open to the form, with as many as hundreds attending their readings.

A) Todo depende por donde te muevas, es como en todos lados hay todo tipo de gustos y preferencias.

It all depends on where you move, it’s like everywhere there are all kinds of tastes and preferences

Q) Have you visited the States, and if so, how often? Did you attend the opening of your show at the Wright Gallery? What did you think of the reception?

A) No, nunca he estado en los Estados Unidos y me encantaría visitarlo. No, desafortunadamente no puede estar. 

No, I’ve never been in the United States and would love to visit. No, unfortunately it can not be.

Q) When and where are your next exhibitions?

A) En unas semanas tendré una expo en Copenhaguen, que es donde mas se han expuesto mis obras. Dinamarca es un país maravilloso que gusta mucho de mi arte. 

In a few weeks I will have an exhibition in Copenhagen, which is where most have exhibited my works. Denmark is a wonderful country like a lot of my art.

Q) Is there anything you would like to add that I have not asked?

A) Si, agradecerle por su entrevista y espero que a muchos le guste mi trabajo y que disfruten de él. Gracias.

Yes, thank you for your interview and I hope that many will like my job and enjoy it. Thank you.


MF)  You are most welcome, and all the best in Copenhagen.



About the artist:

Yunior Hurtado Torres was born in Villa Clara, Cuba in 1977. At 11 years old he began to study Fine Arts at the vocational art school, Olga hurtadoAlonzo, in Santa Clara, Cuba, where he received knowledge of painting, drawing, sculpture and printmaking. In 1996 he began attending the Oscar Fernandez Moreira Academy of Arts, in Trinidad, Cuba, graduating in 1999 as a painter, sculptor and art restorer. In 2000 he was hired as a professor at the academy. In 2003 he returned to Santa Clara, his homeland, to teach painting workshops at a local art school.


About the interviewer:

Mike Foldes is founder and managing editor of Ragazine.CC. You can read more about him in About Us.



The above e-interview took place in May 2016. 

Contact: Sara Melzer, Director, Mike Wright Gallery.