This month, I had the wonderful opportunity to create the EP album cover art for Cuban Hip-Hop Artist – Castañeda. This project took about a week to come to fruition while diligently working with my client to make sure his message was perfectly portrayed. I couldn’t be prouder of this piece and the end result. In this post I provide my artist statement to explain the vision behind this art piece and the symbolic statements displayed throughout the cover.
You can catch Castañeda’s EP on iTunes, Apple Music, Pandora, and more on May 20th.
A Prisoner In Paradise | Castañeda
Cover Art By: Ashley Concepcion, 2017
The Trogon is Cuba’s national bird and as it proudly bares the colors of our beloved flag, I felt it represented everything that embodies Cubans as a whole. Using the trogon symbolically is meant to represent a Cuban longing for freedom as it’s imprisoned in the darkness when in reality they are truly meant to be free. By caging the trogon it represents the reality that so many Cubans face today, loss of freedom. The darkness that surrounds the trogon and the cool tones featured are systematically meant to represent the death and despair that surrounds the lives of Cubans around the world and the solitude political prisoners experiences for being advocates of freedom. All of this, engulfed around the same theme of horrific events that plague Cuba everyday for the past 50+ years due to its totalitarian dictatorship and the castro regime.
Castañeda’s EP specifically showcases the life of former political prisoner, Angel Pardo, who was imprisoned for 24 years for allegedly conspiring against the Cuban government. But no crime was ever truly committed. His only duty, at the young age of 18, was to report back to a pro-freedom movement the details of Cuba’s military facilities. He spent 19 years of his 24 year sentence stripped down to his underwear because he refused to accept the clothing designated for the “common prisoner.” A tactic commonly used in Cuban prisons to psychologically demean someones personhood by designating them to wear different color clothing based on the type of criminal they were. Because of this, Pardo refused to wear the color-coded garments they were providing. During his imprisonment, Angel Pardo spent his days in various prisons and witnessed his friends die at the hands of murder or neglect of medical needs.
It’s the relatable stories like the one of Angel Pardo that speak the truths of the struggles and emotions of political prisoners, fleeing refugees, and the millions of Cuban families that bring us together. With the desire to communicate this pain and experience the hope is to reach the world to gain a better understanding of the history of Cuba, the plague that destroyed our beautiful island and the place many of us Cuban-Americans can never call home.
Castañeda eloquently masters the art of lyricism to perfectly communicate all of these emotions. It was an honor to work with him to create such a meaningful piece of artwork. I wish nothing but the best in his current and future musical endeavors in which I have no doubt he will be ultimately successful. Make sure to download his EP on May 20, 2017 and visit his artist page: Castañeda to follow all future projects. I promise you will not be disappointed with the results as Castañeda puts his heart on display.
You can also find his collective group that I had the pleasure of photographing earlier this year, here: Chess Players & Poets
Thank you for visiting Untamed Rose Blog. For Inquiries on artwork, photography, or my shop, feel free to contact me by email or head on over to my Contact Me page and get in touch. I appreciate the support. -URB