Ricardo Maya

Ricardo Maya was born in Cuba and graduated from the University of Enrique Jose at Felix Varela, also in Cuba. He has been further trained to a high degree in several artistic disciplines from ceramics to engraving, silk-screening to lithography. He is a multi-talented artist, illustrator and designer. Maya is now living in Nicaragua, and his Latin American and Cuban identity still has a profound effect on his artistic styles and creativity. His major influence has been Surrealism, from artists such as Dalí, Magritte and De Chirico. But others, such as the protean Pablo Picasso, Tomas Sanchez and even Frida Kahlo have added perspective to his paintings. The artist believes that most observers of his work value it on how closely the influence of surrealism or magic realism is evident, but Maya is conflicted by this attitude and does not wish to be an artist of a single painting or a particular style. He does not want be recognised as the painter of the A’s or B’s, he just wants the painting to be pure, to have something of its own life, and he can then release it into the world: ‘once it gets out of my soul, it does not belong to me anymore, and that is something that I can’t control’. When he faces his artwork, he always tries to make it upright no matter what the element, the style or the speech, or indeed, the semiotic symbols which are his ‘personal codes’. It is impossible to separate his artist-side from his human-side particularly when it comes to his innocent psychology, ‘while your human side tries to grow up and become mature; your artist side insists at all costs to see life as a child, to keep dreaming with common things, and surprise the creator of its own dreams’. He always tries to follow his internal child, ‘my adult side is the boring part, and at the end I am a big child that was born to be a painter’. Indeed, this was confirmed to him by that great Nicaraguan master Armando Morales who once told him, ‘Ricardo, you were born a painter’.

Being an artist, for Maya, is a privilege, and he appreciates how fortunate it is that painting comes naturally to him. He is infused with artistic spirit and always commences a new work full of hope and expectation. However, if the images torment him he starts producing abstracted studies in an attempt to get close to the images in a subtle way and start over again. For Maya, ‘abstractionism is the cure,’ and although sometimes the drama of the creative process can be mixed with frustrations, restrictions and limitations, he feels that there is no price that can be put on the emotions required to produce a finished work of art. Maya rightly opines that artists are judged for the aesthetic qualities of the work they produce, as well as being evaluated in an ever-fluctuating art market that seems to take no account of creativity or the work that goes into it, which he sometimes feels can be a dehumanising process. Ricardo Maya has exhibited widely around the world. His exhibitions have included 1991’s Socialism or Death at the Castillito, and My topic is the one of Baraguá, both in Havana in 1992. His Lindo - House of the Creador in 1994, was critically acclaimed. Other shows have been The Fears of the Signo in Florida in 1995, The fifth wall at Beautiful Arts in Nicaragua in 1999, and the Inland Gallery Stroll of the Art at Granada in 2003. He has also had many solo shows in Europe – from Berlin, Vienna, Helsinki to Zurich, and many in the United States. He is happy to collaborate with other institutions and artists; an example of this collaborative approach was his joint inauguration of the Gallery FIVARS in Alicante, Spain. Maya has worked in conceptual classes of Art at School Rodrigo, Peñalba. He has also worked at the Ministry of Education as an illustrator on the book Guide General Education of II degree.

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