I was born in a family of artists, my father René Martínez Sopeña studied sculpture in the Academy of San Alejandro, the oldest fine art academy in Cuba; although he later devoted his whole career to the illustration and graphic designing. He worked as a furniture designer and interior décor during his first professional years and then progressed to work as a graphic artist in "Pueblo y Educacion", a publishing house dedicated to educational books in Cuba and later on in Gente Nueva another publishing house. His final professional years were dedicated to work at the National Academy of Science in Havana, creating scientific illustrations.
My brother René Martínez Ramos was born four years earlier than me, so by the time I was born; my brother had already spent hours scribbling his favorite TV characters on paper. My uncle Hector Martínez was a sculptor with several permanent pieces at the Museum of Fine Art in Havana, and my uncle Sergio Martínez Sopeña became one of the most recognizable sculptors in Cuba, as well as a sculpture professor at The National School of Arts. My grandfather had a sister in Spain who was a painter as well.
So, in this environment filled with art displays, art appreciation and talent I was born one day in November of 1964.
When I look back I can't find myself without a pencil doodling on papers or notebooks. At a time when there wasn’t videogames, computers and only few TV channels and toys were available, drawing was my childhood everyday companion. I was drawing everywhere, at home and at school causing me a lot of trouble, although I was using my skill to draw pictures needed for the class on the blackboard for the rest of the students to see; since there wasn’t enough textbooks for every student, sharing one large image for all was a good deal for the professors. On the other hand I had friends waiting for me to draw something cool on the back of their notebooks.
I followed two great masters during my childhood, one was my father and the other one my brother, a fantastic artist and a fast learner. We both spent a lot of time "competing" to see who could outdraw the other, but to tell the truth that was a hard decision.
After eight years of studying I graduated from The National School of Art; I taught Fine Art for several years, but my passion for illustration and graphics made me look into the field where I work to this day. During the late 80’s a friend introduced me into a small group of artists who were selling their artworks at the Cathedral of Havana, from that moment I rediscovered the beauty of creating through brushes, canvas and colors and one more time since I graduated I started to paint.
After looking around and digging for a personal way of “saying” my own style and going through different stages, I finally hit the mark sometime in 1993. By that year I commenced developing the Yuri Martínez style you can see up today, an evolution of more than 20 years.
After all these years I have done exhibitions in different cities and countries but the most important was “Dream of The Distant” my first exhibition at Papillon Gallery in Los Angeles which marked the beginning of my career outside of Cuba and the first step to reach one of my life’s goal, to come to the United Sates with my wife and son and start a new life here. This dream came true in September 2000.
Today we have immersed ourselves into the American society and culture, today I am not only painting Cuban dreams and fantasies in my paintings, and I am also depicting the dreams and fantasies of the American society. I also share my Fine Art career with my other passion, Graphic Art. I live happily with my wife, my son and my daughter in Texas.
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