For decades, Cuban artist Leandro Gomez Quintero has been creating model vehicles that are both uncannily representational and also replete with whimsy. For Quintero, the humble car or truck is the immediately familiar subject of lightweight sculptures made of paper, cardboard, and other materials. Each is carefully assembled and hand-painted, with attention paid to replicating even the various wires of a vehicle’s undercarriage. The subject matter is deceptively simple, however.
For Quintero, who resides in eastern Cuba, in the town of Baracoa, these vehicles represent a means of conveying his country’s long isolation from the United States, from where his subjects–Dodges, and Jeeps, among other cars of American origin—come from. Each model takes him anywhere from a week to a month to create, depending on its detail and scale.
When he isn’t making artwork, Quintero teaches philosophy at Baracoa’s center of Medical Sciences, and also acts as a delegate to Cuba’s Municipal Assembly of the People’s Power. Quintero developed a passion for artmaking in high school, citing a fascination with reading everything from philosophy to technical magazines and an inventive, curious nature of both his mother and father as constant sources of inspiration. At their most basic and obvious level, of course, vehicles move us forward, taking us to places both magical and rote; Quintero makes us happy to join the ride.