HAVANA TIMES — Jorge Luis Figueroa, popularly known as “Chompy,” offers the public a space for the visual and culinary arts in a locale he runs in Havana’s old town, at the intersection of Aguiar and Habana Streets.
HT: You’re a self-taught painter?
Jorge Luis: Yes, I’m a self-taught painter without any formal training. I’ve always considered art a priority in my life. I love painting.
HT: What came before painting?
JL: I studied to become a German language translator. I studied 5 years at the University of Leipzig, in Germany. I completed my studies and had the opportunity to work in that country.
HT: Would you define your pictorial style as both abstract and figurative?
JL: It’s not that I define my work this way; it’s only been a path I’ve followed in search of my personal realization as a painter.
HT: What paths describe your creative work more precisely, then?
JL: I consider myself a practitioner of naive art, something which emerged from community work I did with children in the Old Havana neighborhood where I live. One can give imagination and fantasy free reign through the use of exuberant colors, on canvas, on paper, on a piece of wood where dreams come alive, and fantastic forms of naivety help define my work.
HT: Why do you focus on the erotic in your works?
JL: Well, it’s simple: my zodiac sign is Scorpio, which connotes pure, innate sexuality.
HT: In addition to being a painter, do you do any other work in Cuba to get by?
JL: Yes, ever since I was born, I have also always liked the culinary arts my father taught me. Currently, in addition to running my own gallery, I work as a master chef at a private establishment.
HT: If you were to paint the current social context, what images would you use?
JL: I would use many abstract figures, because everything is unpredictable in Cuba today.”
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