First year artist at CN: Rick Blanco

Thursday night I had a chance to meet a talented artist named Rick Blanco, from California. He’s an exhibitor here at Cuba Nostalgia for the first time this year and fell in love with his work. Here’s a picture of my favorite piece in his exhibit it’s called El Cubanazo del 1933.


If it looks familiar to you that’s because it was inspired by a famous 1933 photo called “Citizen of Havana” by Walker Evans. But in Rick’s version the citizen is actually part of the Cuban flag. If you look closely you can see that he is, in fact, the star in the field of red.

That image also inspired Andy Garcia to include a similarly attired gentleman in the opening and closing sequences of The Lost City.

5 thoughts on “First year artist at CN: Rick Blanco”

  1. This is not meant as a criticism of Rick Blanco’s fine art, just a comment. Walker Evans did a lot of harm to Cuba. He went to Cuba in the 1930’s and focused on subjects that gave the world a distorted image of Cuba—indigents in rags, homeless people sleeping on park benches, black prostitutes, etc… The masses think in soundbites, they find it hard to process complicated information. Unfortunately, Evans pictures gave Americans a very bad impression of Cuba that seemed to stick.

  2. Henry:
    It always struck me that the particular photograph portays either a “chulo” or a “porristas” (Machado informer and enforcer.
    Ray is correct Evans was sent to Cuba to take photographs for Left wing radical Carlton Beals book ” The Crime of Cuba” if memory of my reading serves the book was never published. This may well have been because the Cuban communist party, after first supporting the general strike against Machado, then made a pact with Machado trying to break the strick. This is admitted even by “Fabio Grobart” who states that the communist party thought that if the strike was successful the upper and middle classes would retain control…

  3. The classic 2-3 button linen suit, however, was the fashion for men through the Caribbean for most of the 20th Century – well into the 1960s.

  4. The classic 2-3 button linen suit, however, was the fashion for men through the Caribbean for most of the 20th Century – well into the 1960s, when fashions became more casual and guayaberas were acceptable in all except the most formal ocassions.

  5. Fausta:
    There are always problems with interpretations of photographs. However, it is not so much his suit which merely indicates a time or a life of leisure), it is his eyes, and his “lean and hungry look,” that so strongly suggests he is up to no good. In other words his physique indicates a physically active way of life not usually performed in a suit (perhaps he merely hung it up on a chair (:>). Remember this 1933 when most were having a rough time economically, and one way to earn a living if one were strong and swift.
    was to be a porrista. One wonders if it is possible to identify who he was…..

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