Felix Beltran
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Felix Beltran was born in Havana, Cuba in 1938. He trained as a graphic artist in the United States between 1956-1962, studying at the School of Visual Arts, the American Art School, and Art Students League in New York. He later studied in France in 1965 and at the Circulo de Bellas Artes in Madrid, Spain. Around 1970, he became the head graphic designer for the propaganda department of the Communist Party of Cuba and professor of graphic arts at Havana University. In self-imposed exile, he moved to Mexico some time around 1980. Continuing to work and lecture on the power of the poster and visual communication, he later received a scholarship from the New School for Social Research and the Graphic Art Center at Pratt Institute and recently from the Council for International Exchanges of Scholars in Washington, D.C. He has exhibited his work at the Cuban pavillion at the World Expo's Montreal (1967) and Osaka (1970), in 456 group shows and 65 solo shows, and can be found in the permanent collection of 60 museums. He has received 132 awards and a Doctorate Honoris Causa in Arts from the International University Foundation in Delaware.

Felix Beltran, Member of the American Institute of Graphic Arts and of the Type Directors Club of New York, reflecting on the concept of the poster:

Throughout its history, the poster has been characterized by a distinctive feature: persuasion. It has faced the increasing emergence of many media, which reflect the existence of countless influences. One of the richest periods of this graphic genre was the decade of the twenties, when the poster in Central Europe had immense ascendancy over other media and, as a result of its properties and simplicity, constituted almost a scandal in the streets, an art exhibition for all passersby. In recent years, as in no other period of history, new media have developed as a result of the accelerated increase in communications, as well as of the need for expansion in order to reach the farthest corners of the world. In the face of this challenge, the poster is struggling to survive and occupy interior spaces. It will also attempt to make greater use of special effects, taking advantage of the various possibilities and options the printing processes offer. [1]

In 1971, Felix Beltran produced the poster "Libertad Para Angela Davis" (Freedom for Angela Davis) for the propaganda department of the Communist Party of Cuba. It was an offset lithograph, 57x33 cm. Of this poster, the International Institute of Social History stated:

"The black activist Angela Davis campaigns for reforms in American justice, especially concerning racial issues. In 1970 she is arrested and imprisoned herself. Her case arouses indignation world-wide. In 1972, Angela Davis is released. The styling of this portrait, with flat colours and rounded forms, shows the influence of Pop Art."

This work by Beltran is notable in that it served as the basis for Shepard's 2003 work Angela Rough.

Beltran's 1971 "Libertad Para Angela Davis"


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