FROM THE STUDIO: Spice of Life, Havana - Tom Butler Artist

FROM THE STUDIO: Spice of Life, Havana

I have been delighted to return to creating some Cuban originals this month - it's been a while - so long in fact I had to blow dust off my Cuban Collage tray! As I reacquainted myself with the photos and paraphernalia to the sounds of latino music on the playlist, fond memories of my 2017 trip out there came flooding back - I'm longing to return.

Whilst the pace of life is relaxed, the pace of change isn't; as Cuba unshackles itself from a heavy economic embargo and its communist past, entrepreneurialism has inevitably crept in as people strive for a better future. Shiny renovated Cadillac's or Chevy's cruise the streets touting for self-stick posing westerners - and command a handsome tariff. 

The capital Havana is still incredibly preserved - from the more traditional American bangers to the colonial architecture - the timeworn facades waiting for a facelift. Despite the overall poverty, the place is alive with music, colour, smiling faces and warm greetings - Havana is the happiest place I've ever been to - untainted by western greed. Now is definitely a good time to visit, before too many boutique hotels arrive!


Original Painting
Size : 24 x 24 inches
Medium: Mixed Media

'Spice of Life' is a vibrant depiction of a typical bustling street in Havana, heading towards the landmark 'Capitol Building', built in 1926. I remember meandering through the labyrinth of colourful streets in the old town - there was always something interesting going on at every turn, pulling you in every direction!  I really love the warm tones and palette running through this one - and rather aptly, the visible layering of collage on the facades and balconies to mimic how you can almost see the history seeping through the buildings as you walk around.