Interaction with Agustin Gainza

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I recently had the pleasure to interact with Agustin Gainza, a Cuban-American visual artist and painter. Based in Miami – FL, this artist has held exhibitions in Europe, United States and other parts of the world. Graduated from National School of Arts he finds himself comfortable with painting, drawing and ceramics. Gainza’s work is well recognized, represented & awarded in private and public collections.

Although Gainza has been very creative since childhood, he shares, “My best work was during my school days. I use to score maximum points in arts. I love to sketch however I was scared of colors in the beginning, until I passed by the School of Arts in Cuba and the smell of paint made me go inside. That’s when I realized where I belong”. It took him many years to listen to his creative soul, and become an artist.

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When asked about the most precious artwork in his life, he answered, “It will be the next one. I always dream of my art to be better and better and when I finish I always think about the next one. How can I make it better?

Every artist has a different way of portraying his mind, different imagination and different inspiration, in Gainza’s case his ideas strike him under a shower. Once he gets his inspiration he does not know which form he would paint it down. He starts with water colors and makes a rough sketch and then later on decides his medium on which he is going to work. He takes his chance and chose from paper, canvas or a tile.

While I was talking to him, I realized that he loves to travel. For him some cities are more special than the others. While he is traveling, he is always waiting for that moment when he gets his inspiration and can put it down on a paper. He quickly makes a rough sketch from whatever inspires him and then fairs it down later. While showing me some of his rough sketches he adds,” I have to be real quick in making these else my wife would burn my credit cards down”. (Hahaha…no offence Mrs. Gainza)

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He also shares that some of the artists criticize him for using modern day digital media to produce art but for him he believes that in today’s world a balance is important. He loves the contemporary way but the digital media is easy to present, reproduce and save his work as he never erases anything.

Gainza family has the most interesting gallery but they are trying to make it even more interactive. The plan includes a lively bar which will be ready soon. They both are working on this unique concept and in my opinion it would be a great success. I can already imagine few people on the bar, the artist, his colors, imagination and conversations. Just my kind of a thing!

Agustin Gainza Rough sketch BW

Can’t wait to go back and chill with you wonderful people again.

A special thanks to Mr. Alex who was translating everything from Spanish to English for me, as Gainza is not very smooth with English.

To know more about the art gallery, visit:
http://www.agustingainza.com/

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Egg & Shrimp Calzone

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Ingredients:

2C. All purpose flour
2T. Yeast
1T. Sugar
2T. Olive oil
2T. Peas
2T. Sweet corn
3 Eggs (room temperature)
1 Shallot (chopped)
2 Green Chilies (chopped)
3 Garlic Cloves (minced)
10-12 Shrimps (diced)
Salt & pepper
Cornmeal or semolina (to sprinkle)

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Recipe:

Start with activating the yeast. In a bowl add one cup of warm water, yeast & sugar, stir and leave aside till it foams.

Heat some oil in a wok. Saute garlic, chilies & shallot. Once fragrant add eggs and scramble to medium consistency. Now add the shrimps, peas & corns, continue cooking till the shrimps turn pink. Check for seasoning and don’t overcook. Set aside to cool.

In another bowl combine flour, a pinch of salt & yeast mix. Knead the dough till soft and smooth. Leave to rise for 1-2 hours in a warm place.

To bake the calzones preheat the oven at 200°C and sprinkle the baking sheet with cornmeal or semolina.

Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll each out to a 5 – 6 inches disc. Divide the filling between half of each disc, leaving some space to seal. Brush the edges with water and crimp the edges to seal.

Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool slightly and serve.

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Little Havana, Miami – FL

Little HavanaThinking of exploring Miami is itself a fancy dream & if you think doing it all in one day is possible, then you need to calm down. Exploring this tourist Mecca while not missing any of its key attractions needs time. This sub-tropical, multi-cultural wonderland widely boasts about its seductive beaches, shopping, nightlife, art, culture & culinary expertise. Also there are few famous neighborhoods where you can find the best of food, music & nightlife. My frequently visited neighborhood is Little Havana & South Beach but you might also find The Design District interesting.

File 12-01-16, 5 40 24 PMLittle Havana is like walking in a colorful alley. It’s a place where you will find the biggest Cuban community in Miami. You will generally find me strolling on the SW 8th Street also known as Calle Ocho absorbing the Cuban culture. You can find colorful murals, unique art galleries and some of the best typical Cuban restaurants and bakeries offering breakfast, lunch or dinner. However I prefer to go there in the morning and grab one of the classic Cubano sandwich for breakfast along with some freshly squeezed juice. It also has many pubs and bars dropping some Cuban music setting up the mood for the evenings.

File 12-01-16, 3 43 47 PMPhoto 09-01-16, 11 26 22 PMPhoto 10-01-16, 12 29 01 AMIf you are a big fan of Cuban cigars then many famous cigar shops line the street. You can spend some time in one of those trying different cigars along with some coffee.  One of the many is Little Havana Cigar Factory. It is well stocked and has a beautiful ambience. Also if you have any questions, the gorgeous, Ms. Ibis will be happy to help.

File 18-12-15, 6 25 04 AMAnother great attraction is Domino Park. Here you will find retired people playing a game of chess or domino. Some of them though have a very intense look on their face but they are very friendly and also might pose for a picture with you.

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Photo 09-01-16, 11 02 51 PMWhile you are on Calle Ocho, trying the Azucar Ice Cream Company is a must. They have got some of the best and wackiest combinations. My personal recommendation is – Abuela Maria or Mint Chocolate Chip.

File 18-12-15, 6 00 01 AMFile 12-01-16, 6 07 12 PMSome of the art fans can also visit the studio of one of the most acclaimed Cuban-American artist in the world: The Agustin Gainza Arts Gallery. Agustin is always at his studio so if you are lucky you might even see him working on his next big master piece.
(Will be posting a detailed interaction with Mr. Gainza soon)

Photo 10-01-017Little Havana is just a set of few blocks but it has a lot to explore. Spending few hours here is fun and returning here is definitely worth it.

Salud!!