Every artist is known for a definitive style or school. Cuban born Pablo Carreño defines himself as an expressionist. His work (Murals, Water Colors, Pen and Ink, Oil Paintings, and Portraits) present a curious diversity of styles and forms although at the same time. He maintains a flow and unity of lines which makes his work easily recognizable. His art has been shown in numerous one man and collective shows. Pablo Carreño paints the way he thinks and works in accordance with this explosive temperament. A magnificent manifestation of vibrant and intense colors is present and characteristic of his paintings. His imagination and constant creativity make him conceive and unfold a wide range of artistic expressions. Pablo Carreño is as vibrant as the multiplicity of his talent.
Pablo Carreño is a "true artist", pure in his abilities and intensely impassioned about the magical place we all exist in. His goal is singular, to achieve a higher art, something none of us know, an elusive and ethereal goal that haunts him every minute of every day. He is consumed by this driving force and has become so in tune, his paintings actually run from his soul and heart, through his fingers and onto his canvas or maybe onto an old piece of cardboard. He can make no mistakes, everything he touches is art of the highest order, including throwing a cup of espresso onto the middle of a beautiful near complete painting! So many "talented or "gifted" artists have stopped their evolution as an artist because they have been able to produce a highly acceptable style of realistic painting that is easily understandable to the masses. This is a dangerous trap because then we would never see the next step. What an incredible luxury to see and feel the most talented of artists progressing into this unknown region. That makes everyday an adventure for me as well as Pablo. I invite you to take some time out of your life to experience the art of Pablo Carreno and participate in our unique adventure. It will be an experience you will not soon forget. Written by Peter T. Tunney for THE TIME IS ALWAYS NOW art exhibition
Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Pablo Carreno speaks little of his childhood save for his own obsession with drawing and painting. Though his talents were recognized by the age of four, no money was available for formal training, so his early years were spent developing his art through personal experimentation. During that time he also struggled with the changes wrought by the Cuban Revolution, events which forever shaped his perspective and colored his works.
The early 1960s was an especially tumultuous time with the constant political purges of Fidel Castro, the collapse of the economy, and the involvement of the Soviet Union in Cuban affairs. Striking deep at the heart of the country's artists, the new government put superficial emphasis on supporting art, but twisted it into a propaganda tool, selecting artists to promote socialist themes while restricting all other artistic content and commerce.
Chaffing under such constraints, Carreno dreamed of emigrating to the United States to gain artistic freedom. With the support and encouragement of his family and a close-knit Cuban community, that dream became a reality in 1964 when he moved to New York. With only high hopes and a few small watercolor paintings in hand, he landed a job illustrating fashion ads for the department store, S. Klein - On The Square. It was a new beginning.
After a few years Carreno became a freelance art director for Spanish Advertising and Marketing Services, the first and, ultimately, the largest agency cited for launching the U.S. Hispanic Madison Avenue advertising era. As a "MadMan", he worked on many marketing campaigns for major companies such as McDonald's and Anheuser-Busch. He also worked on prestigious theatre programs and awards, and was commissioned to do portraits of well known New Yorkers.
Like many artists, Carreno used his commercial skills to support the development of his painting. The expressive quality of his experiences and observations as translated to canvas was both imaginative and emotional, while his exuberance and passion were contagious. From Elston Howard, the first African-American to play for the New York Yankees, to oftentimes billionaire Donald Trump, people from all walks of life were drawn to him and his art.
After living in various Manhattan locations, Carreno finally settled in a Greenwich Village studio on the 8th Street block between 5th and 6th Avenues, an area filled with a colorful artistic past. It was a sometime residence for Jack Kerouac, the location of Jimi Hendrix' Electric Lady Studio, and the beginnings of the Whitney Museum.
Little wonder Carreno retains the studio to this day. The rich life of that neighborhood and his Latin American heritage combine to bring a passionate vibrance to the artist's work. Blending formal elements with charged emotions, Carreno has created his own form of representational expressionism. His works range from expressive figurative to those that border on abstraction. Occasionally, his more figurative works in both paint and ink introduce an interesting fantasy like quality to the human figure, while his pen and ink drawings show the skills of a master draftsman.
Carreno's works also run the gamut in scale and color. He paints monumental canvases reaching twelve feet high, as well as small, intricate drawings, his palette ranging from boldly colored canvases to near-monochromatic studies with a touch of subtle color. This dichotomy of style, while enigmatic, typifies the artist's penchant for setting his own rules.
If pressed, Carreno points to Vincent Van Gogh and the Viennese expressionist, Oskar Kokoschka as among his favorite artists. However, he never views another artist's work as a template to follow. His brush strokes and visions are his own, an expression of his heritage, tastes, world events, and the people with whom he interacts.
One of his more extraordinary works resulted from a chance meeting with Jerzy Kosinski, author of "The Painted Bird" and "Being There". Carreno was never one to limit his medium and, after a few meetings with the author at Mary Lou's Italian Restaurant, he created a stunning portrait of Kosinski on a set of old blinds.
Similarly, a meeting with the artist Peter Beard led to Carreno's earthy African Series of paintings, while his colorful Jazz and Martini Series were inspired by the recordings of Charlie Parker and evenings at the Blue Note Jazz Club. An unlikely encounter with a member of a Sherlock Holmes Society even inspired the artist to paint two portraits of Victorian illustrator, Sidney Paget.
Carreno has garnered professional recognition from many quarters, his paintings residing in collections from California, New York and Miami to Paris, Milan and beyond. He has been represented in numerous one-man and collective shows sharing the stage with such artists as Viktor IV (Bulgar Finn). His one man show organized for The Time is Always Now Gallery in Hong Kong resulted in an impromptu request for a portrait by business tycoon, Sir David Tang.
Whether winning the commission for an Absolut Vodka ad campaign, designing an award for Diana Ross, or exhibiting at the Trump Taj Majal, the artist's life has been filled with the serendipity one happens upon while journeying steadfastly toward a goal. For Pablo Carreno that goal remains the same today in Greenwich Village and Miami as it was when he began his journey in Havana:
"...to achieve a higher art, something none of us know, an elusive and ethereal goal that haunts him every minute of every day."