Carlos Gamez De Francisco | Featured Artist

March 26, 2024

Carlos Gamez de Francisco's art has been heavily influenced by his Cuban roots and classical training. His passion for art developed at a very young age, and he dedicated himself to painting for eight hours a day by the time he was fifteen.

Gamez de Francisco is currently represented by several galleries including Artplex Gallery, in Los Angeles, CA, Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, OH, Monica Graham Fine Art in Carmel, CA, New Editions Gallery in Lexington, KY, and Portland Art Gallery in Portland, ME.

carlos headshot

"I was born in post-revolutionary Cuba in 1987 and educated in an academic setting heavily governed by the Russian Academy. This frame of reference is evident in all of my work. To deny my experiences, perceptions and the impact of history would be disregarding my own existence. These influences are the lens through which I create and the motivation that propels me.

Cuban history has guided me in a variety of ways. On the one hand, it allows me to rethink the way storytelling is part of our memories. On the other, it allows me to question the accuracy of history and its telling. This conflict absorbed me during my early years and continues to engage me as I complete my artistic education. Currently, this near-obsession with the past translates into figures, scenarios, and most importantly, the recreation of my own stories.

In Cuba, I was exposed to figurative arts by the presence of the Russian Academy. This presence, as well as the censorship of contemporary art and the limited access to information, was the accepted dogma. Consequently, I understood that decontextualizing epochs and artistic symbols was the tool I could use to establish a connection between the present and the past. The resulting work provides an escape from reality and creates an illusory world. I am more fascinated in altering history than depicting it accurately."

Gamez de Francisco arrived in the United States at the age of 21 with only $650 and no knowledge of English. He spent $600 on art supplies and $50 on a pair of Cortez running shoes, inspired by Forrest Gump. Determined to succeed, he committed to learning 100 English words daily, studying diligently, working, and painting at night. For the first five months in America, he barely slept. His exceptional talent, hard work, and perseverance earned him artistic commissions and recognition.

Gamez de Francisco paints and photographs passionately, creating works filled with symbolism. Insects frequently appear in his artwork, where flying insects represent freedom, falling insects symbolize chaos, and lying insects denote balance.

Trained in classical portraiture and historical painting, his early works depicted royalty and the wealthy. However, he believed that "everybody has the right to be in the portrait," leading him to create a series featuring everyday people adorned with found objects like lace doilies, curtains, plastic bags, and kitchen towels, giving them a royal appearance.

His paintings of over-decorated furniture nod to the wealthy's tastes and reflect a childhood memory. In Cuba, his mother saved for two years to buy a new sofa, which was kept in plastic and never used, admired from a distance like a museum piece.

After arriving in the U.S., he noticed how pets are pampered and allowed on furniture, inspiring his "Keep Your Pets Off Furniture" series. This whimsical collection features dogs lounging on sofas and horses jumping on elaborately decorated couches. Today, his Afghan Hound has free reign of the house.

Living in Kentucky, horses are a favorite theme for Gamez de Francisco. In surrealist fashion, he often combines horses with human forms, creating centaur-like figures with a twist, such as a horse's head on a human body, or the head of a deer, fox, or giraffe on a human form, often dressed in silk and finery.

Gamez de Francisco's work is exquisitely detailed, beautifully executed, and deeply thought-provoking.

Highly awarded and exhibited, some of Carlos’ numerous awards include Fine Art Photographer of the Year, 2020, Moscow International Photo Awards, Moscow, Russia, Gold Award, 2020 Tokyo International Foto Awards, Tokyo, Japan, “Dreammakers” Artist in Residence at the Muhammad Museum, the Distinguished Scholarship from the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Museum Guild Purchase Award from Evansville Museum. He have had solo shows at 21c Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and Bentonville, Arkansas, Monica Graham Fine Art in Carmel, CA, Miller Gallery in Cincinnati, OH, Portland Art Gallery in Portland, ME, Hardcore Art Contemporary Space in Miami, Florida, The Muhammad Ali Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Colonial Museum of Fine Arts in Havana, Cuba. His work has been exhibited at Art Market San Francisco (2022), Scope-Art Basel, Miami (2021 and 2012), Art Palm Beach (2014), Art Southampton, New York (2015), and Context Art Miami (2016).