Carlos Gamez de Francisco was born in post-revolutionary Cuba in 1987 to a Cuban- Spanish mother and a Cuban-American father. He grew up in Cuba and was educated in an academic style heavily influenced by the Russian Academy. At age five, he determined, with absolute certainty, that he would be an artist. By the time he was 15, Francisco was diligently painting eight hours a day. Today, he often spends 15 hours a day painting and feels "very blessed" to do what he loves.
Francisco arrived in the United States at 21 with $650 and knew no English. He spent $600 on art supplies and $50 on a pair of Cortez running shoes – just like the ones Forrest Gump wore to run across the United States. He committed himself to learning 100 English words every day, studying diligently, working, and painting at night. His hard work and perseverance led him to earn artistic commissions and recognition.
Cuban history has guided Francisco's work in a variety of ways. "On the one hand, it allows me to rethink the way storytelling is part of our memories," he says. "On the other, it allows me to question the accuracy of history and its telling."
Exposed to Figurative Arts in Cuba by the presence of the Russian Academy, Francisco began decontextualizing epochs and cultural symbols as a way of connecting the past with the present. Currently, this near-obsession with the past translates into figures, scenarios, and most importantly, the recreation of his own stories.
"I am more fascinated in altering history than depicting it accurately," says Francisco.
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