Osvaldo Mesa - Artist


My name is Osvaldo Mesa. I was born in Cuba grew up in Miami. I started to take painting classes at the age of ten with Cuban artist who had studied in Spain. So my training was pretty traditional. When to college I was introduced to Abstract Expressionism and rejected much of my academic background. I began to rebel against painting itself. I started to break up the canvas stretchers and tying them together with canvas and finally adding paint to its surface.


I moved to Baltimore to attend Graduate School at MICA (Mount Royal). I had lived almost all my life in Miami in a prominently Latin environment and I really noticed that I was different than my  “American” classmates. And Baltimore was a culture shock for this Cuban boy. I began to investigate my culture and personal history. I began to recall Sunday dinners at one of my many surrogate grandmothers. I would sit in a rocking chair and stare at her household Santeria shire. I loved trying to figure our what all the different components meant. I would also recall the local  Botanicas and the smell of the incense that would travel out into street. My work was basically made up of would canvas and paint; it also had a spiritual element to them especially an Afro-Cuban feel.


I continued to work in this way for several years after are graduate school. I even started to do installations. My work was even featured in the book Santeria Aesthetics in Contemporary Latin-American Art published by Smithsonian Press.  A few years later I started teaching full time at a Community College in Baltimore. I remember sitting in a painting class and watching my students painting still-lives and saying to myself, hey that looks fun.  At that same I felt that my work had it a wall and that wanted to move into another direction. I decided that I would paint whatever I wanted. I didn’t care about style period technique. I paint what I enjoy; I mix Baroque, especially Latin American Baroque with Surrealism and Abstraction. I put together things that make sense to me visually and come together demonstrate who I am. 

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