Painting is a Monk's Profession

Painting is a Monk's Profession

When Nurieski Pichardo was just five years old, his parents noticed something special in his doodles. The little boy was very observant and always tried to capture what he saw around him on a sheet, a wall or a piece of board. “It was what he did most of the time when he was alone. He drew comics and my favorite characters in class shifts, ”says the creator.

The first steps of the budding artist in the world of painting came from the hand of Raquel, a teacher who at that time taught at the House of Culture of his native town of Güines, located south of the capital. Nurieski remembers with great affection this stage of his life, which he covered throughout primary and secondary education, and acknowledges that he owes a lot to his teacher, "always attentive and affectionate."

The young man from Mayabeque trained as an art instructor and for almost a decade he worked with children and taught painting workshops. It was not until about six years ago that he began to dedicate himself to his work full time, because as he warns: "living from art is not always easy", which is why he previously maintained another employment relationship to pay for the expenses of the economy homey.

However, the artist tries to forget all this the moment he picks up the brush. “Painting is a consecrated job, it is almost a monk's profession. You have to alienate yourself in front of the canvas so that the work can flourish”, expresses the young artist. Not infrequently, he has experienced frustrations with the logic of the market and the institutions that dictate the guidelines around the exhibition, projection or international exit of lesser-known artists.

Nurieski still says he feels little incorporated into the maelstrom of the great galleries or the opportunities that he offers by belonging to certain circuits, movements or associations. As an artist from the periphery, the young man affirms: “Regionalism weighs us down, both when it comes to exhibiting our work and because of the few possibilities we have to acquire the materials. There are artists who do not know each other or who do not exist in the eyes of the public”.

At 35 years old, the painter emphasizes that he is not always concerned with the messages of his paintings, but not with aesthetics, which he pursues down to the smallest detail. He is passionate about the realistic style and is able to capture the gestures of movements, mysticism, poverty, abandonment, loneliness, or African roots in the Caribbean. He is also inspired by faces because he says that traces of people's stories and pain endure there. "It's the part of the human figure that best expresses feelings," he says.

Another of the reasons for creating is found in “those situations that put us to the limit”. This was the case with the piece Icarus, whose name alludes to the well-known character from Greek mythology. Said work by Nurieski represents the paradox of triumph and what is experienced by someone who has managed to reach the top of the sky, but at the same time, can feel very alone.

“I always have a tone of nonconformity with my work —reveals—. So I try to make the next painting more serious, more convincing... I'm still exploring and I need to mature in the search for a more conceptual language. I want my canvases to be perceived “in a direct, sublime and skin-deep way”.

By: Mabel Torres