Carlos Quintana


Carlos Quintana - Latin Art Core

Carlos Alberto Quintana Ledesma was born on November 29th, 1966, in the Vedado district of Havana. His grandparents were illiterate. His mother attended school until the third elementary grade, his father until fifth elementary grade. There had never been an artist in the family. His father was a bookseller. When Carlos was 16 he enrolled at the famed San Alejandro Academy of Fine Arts but he lasted only four months. "Studying didn't do me any good," he recalls. "I couldn't accept the rigors of school, the discipline, the schedule because of what was going on in my life." Quintana is not clear about whether he was kicked out of art school or whether he just stopped going to classes, but the result was the same. He taught himself to be a painter.

"Everyone treated me like some kind of strange animal," he recalls. "I was like other kids, I threw stones, climbed trees, stole horses from my uncles. But I also had other tendencies, spiritual and artistic interests that nobody in my family understood, nor supported, nor respected." The one exception was his aunt Elena, his father's sister, who saw her young nephew's potential. She lent him a little room on Avenida Paseo in Vedado, Havana, where he painted on bed sheets he stole from his mother.

When Quintana was 26 whe moved to Spain. He kept a studio in Madrid for 11 years, then in 2003 he moved back to Havana. "I fell in love with a Cuban woman and I'm still with her," he says. He also became something of a nomad, exhibiting his work around the world, painting whenever and wherever he had the chance.