Thursday, 7 January 2010


Here are four mock-ups that I acquired from Florida based Cuban poster collector Irina, who in turn got them from the damp basement of the ICAIC in Cuba. Each one is painted on artistic board and provides the original artwork for a Cuban poster. These would have been passed to the printmaker who would have had to painstakingly cut the shapes out in each colour to do the silkscreening.

They are in rough condition but are unique and it's great to see some of the techniques of Cuban poster production revealed. On the back of each one are details of the colours specified by the artist and these would have been selected by the printer. The boards are all different sizes indicating an approach to poster production that relied on the materials available at that time. Where there is text to go on a poster the artist has used a randomly cutout piece of text from a publication and stuck it on to indicate where the text should go. The artists have also used cut out letters for the poster title and the printer has subsequently replaced these letters with the font of his or her choice. Bachs' posters use his own trademark lettering and these would have been cut out for the screening.

There are some interesting details on the reverse of the boards which I've tried to illustrate.

Here are the poster mock-ups and their backs:
Los Herederos - Niko
niko icaic poster

niko poster mock up

Senales Sobre la Ciudad - Nico
bachs vieja dama icaic poster

bachs vieja dama icaic poster

Las Senoritas de Rochefort - Reboiro
bachs vieja dama icaic poster

bachs vieja dama icaic poster

Las Tres Noches de un Amor - Bachs
bachs vieja dama icaic poster

bachs vieja dama icaic poster

On the back of Bachs' poster for Tres Noches de un Amor is the instruction "20 affiches [posters] 4 Fidel" which may be an indication that some were destined for the Cuban leader. The jury's out on this one. Here's the close up:
Fidel cuban poster

We can also see a numbering system in place. I assume that each poster got a number and that these were controlled by the man with the purple crayon. Here are 428, 468, 639 and 651:
Fidel cuban poster

Fidel cuban poster

Fidel cuban poster

Fidel cuban poster

And colours. Here are a list of colours, and a list of colours that clearly didn't work:
Fidel cuban poster

Fidel cuban poster

Two of the four mock-ups that I have also have the signature of Saul Yellin who was the supervisor and pseudo-protector of the ICAIC artists. He was responsible for approving the design of the posters. Yellin's approvals allowed the Cuban film poster artists' style to deviate further and further from what was considered appropriate for a socialist revolution.
signature approval icaic

cuban poster cuba

To see how small the originals are versus the finished poster I have taken a shot of these four against a full size poster:
cuban poster cuba icaic


Allen said...
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Alka said...
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marry said...
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Ingram Frizer said...

A fascinating blog. Thank you very much.

nb said...

Hi there, quality quality blog, gracias! The hi-res links are dead though?

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javier hernandez-miyares said...

wonderful website and i will add it to my blog roll at
i was friends with rene mederos, and he showed me a mock up of one of his vietnam posters, which was more or less the same size as the silk screen rendering.

Char1ie said...

Thanks for the comments. Hi Res links should now be working.

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Mercedes - Clases de Yoga said...

It's a beautiful art exhibition of posters of Cuba. I appreciate the work of the artists. Thanks for sharing.42 rksLnfe

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