Eduardo Sarmiento at The Galleries at The Historic Thomas Center
Cuban American artist Eduardo Sarmiento makes art about life. His paintings, drawings, graphic design work, and illustrations are led, in short, by exploration – “creating beauty and visual experiences, telling the truth, sparking conversations, and exploring life,” as he puts it.
Born in Cienfuegos, Cuba in 1980, Sarmiento graduated from Havana’s Superior Institute of Design (ISDI) with an honors degree in Graphic Design & Illustration. His work has been published in The New York Times, Texas Monthly, ESPN, Étapes, Slanted, El Nuevo Herald, Miami New Times, and ArteCubano Magazine among others. He has exhibited internationally and has pieces in the permanent collections of various American museums. Currently, he works as vice-president and creative director at Brunet García Advertising here in Jacksonville.
Sarmiento will be exhibiting at The Galleries at the Historic Thomas Center in Gainesville as part of Bulla Cubana. The exhibition is titled Intimate States, and features portraiture as well as graphic designs that are seen as labeling for products such as wine bottles and cigar boxes. In both types of his art, experiential storytelling is present, fueled by a drawing practice that allows him to “access a new dimension … a new way of experiencing life.”
“That’s why I always carry a sketchbook with me, especially when traveling, so instead of taking
selfies and photos of the environment, I draw myself and the people around me,” says Sarmiento. “Because I’m drawing, I have to observe more deeply, feel more present, and later on I can access a more vivid space in my memory.”
According to Sarmiento, the influence of his Cuban background that exists in his artwork can be boiled down to this: “Culture defines the way we see and interpret life.” He continues that experiencing different cultures enriches one’s visual vocabulary, and gives access to more resources to tell life’s stories. His portraits are both general, focused on a narrative or emotion, and personal, displaying an intimate connection with the subject. The thread of exploration that ties together all of his work is coupled with welcomed uncertainty. “Creativity is fundamentally uncertain,” he says. “Otherwise we will arrive to expected spaces and solutions.”
Intimate States opens January 23 at The Galleries at the Historic Thomas Center, 302 NE 6th Ave., Gainesville, (352) 393-8539.