Juan Travieso is a painter, and he spends his time between Miami and New York. Juan hails from Cuba, and his works are a dazzling mix of pop art, realism, and abstraction. The natural shapes of birds and other animals intermix with rough geometric shapes and abstract backgrounds, painted in bold, cheerful colours from across the entire spectrum.
The themes Juan Travieso explores are more serious than the colours would sometimes suggest – and this striking contrast makes that juxtaposition all the more memorable. I was drawn to his paintings because he’s chosen to depict endangered birds.
“I have been painting endangered birds for the last five years,” Juan told me over email. “I paint endangered birds because I believe that biodiversity is crucial for the health of future generations. As we lose species we also lose the option of further advancement in the understanding of evolution and biological timeline of our planet.”
This is why, I believe, Juan’s work lies in the intersection between science and art. It’s not true scientific illustration, because he is not striving for absolute accuracy: “I study birds mostly visually. I explore their lines and design and then I reinterpret them and enhance them in a way that summons attentions from my viewers at my museum and gallery shows.”
And indeed, what better way to command the attention of crowds than by drawing them in with colour and playfulness – all the while getting across the important message of nature conservation. Juan hopes to draw all the endangered bird species on the planet: “I believe that one day I will have a retrospective of all of the pieces in one gallery or museum and the power of numbers will translate into an incredible display of commitment to the subject and the unbelievable variety that we have on this little blue planet.”
I would gladly visit an exhibition like that. “In addition I would like to communicate to the world to please donate to the World Wildlife Foundation,” says Juan.
So there you have it – an artist from Cuba with an insatiable love for colour, and a deep appreciation for biodiversity. Make sure to visit Juan’s website, as well as Instagram, or even drop him a line.