When Havana Club invited EINE to create an artwork for their recent Casa Havana pop in in London’s Soho, a visit to the encapsulating city itself left EINE with a new palette of inspiration. Here we interviewed him about his experience…
What were the most exciting aspects of Havana / Cuba for you?
I had heard lots about Havana, lots of my friends have been there but basically going there and experiencing the culture for myself. Visually it’s a pretty unique place. I was totally inspired by just everything that was going on around me.
What details of Havana inspired the colour palette for the artwork you’ve created for Casa Havana?
There wasn’t as much street art in Havana as I imagined there to be and that was because they have so much trouble getting art equipment, and if they can get art equipment or paint then they generally don’t use it for street art. The street art that I saw was mainly by friends of mine from around the world that have come and done their own stuff. But what really inspired me for ‘the unexpected’ artwork was how they put colours together. Probably because of the fact that they don’t have lots of colours and they don’t have lots of paint, they put colours together that I would never use and that was a big inspiration for me. A lot of the photographs that I took whilst I was there were just of painted walls because again they were just colours that I would never have used.
If you could live in any house in Havana, what colour would it be and why?
It would be decrepit and falling down, weathered and worn. It would be really, really old, a one hundred year-old white, decaying and weathered house – because it has so much character and that’s something that I don’t do in my paintings. I don’t have my paintings hanging up in my house, I’m sick of my paintings. I paint them, so I’d like something completely different to what my artwork looks like.
What is your opinion of the street art scene in Havana, considering there isn’t much on the walls/streets compared with other cities?
Whilst I was there the only street art I saw was by people I know from around the world, I wasn’t aware of any Cuban street art but we didn’t explore everywhere, I’m sure there’s neighbourhoods where it does exist. But I think this is going to change when the sanctions get lifted and Cubans are able to get paint. I think once sanctions are lifted and you can import and export stuff easier then I’m sure Montana will open up a spray paint shop in Havana and it will explore because there are so many opportunities to do it out there.
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