Artist name: Luis Felipe Ruano

Biography: Luis Felipe Ruano is one of Cuba's best contemporary artists. He lives in Central Havana where he was born in 1962 during the Cuban missile crisis. He has developed an artistic style that makes a radical departure from the vast majority of derivative Cuban artists who cater almost exclusively to the tourist trade. Consequently, his paintings are not even displayed in Havana's tourist oriented galleries. Political? Perhaps. But more practically, his paintings sell at much higher prices than the tourist art gallery paintings. For Luis it is his desire to maintain artistic integrity and not compromise his vision. For some, Luis is a "painter's painter" who by "word-of-mouth" gets his art sold without having to display it in the handful of Cuba's public galleries. Fellow artists bring serious art buyers to his house. In a competitive marketplace, this is pretty unusual but speaks of the respect that artists have for Luis Felipe Ruano.

Luis' paintings are sensual yet in the background are ominous signs of pain, sadness, and death. The Cuban government frowns on these kinds of paintings since they prefer Cuban artists to portray life in Cuba as happy and harmonious.

Along with his partner, Jorge Luis Delgado Guiterrez, Luis' paintings have had major exhibitions in New York, Houston, France, Spain and Puerto Rico. With some pride, Luis points out that noted art collector Jean Marie Senia from Dijon, France have purchased his paintings. Buyer will get a picture of the artist in Cuba along with a copy of the official "Registrar of the National Bureau of Culture for the Republic of Cuba" that authorizes this painting to be exported out of Cuba.