Born in Havana, Antonio Pérez Ñiko began his career drawing for an ad agency in Cuba as one of many artists executing images of propaganda for the state. Upon the Revolution, he devoted himself passionately to his own artwork, creating what eventually amounted to hundreds of posters. Many of these were film posters commissioned by the Cuban Institute of Cinematographic Art and Industry (founded in 1959); Ñiko also designed countless political and cultural posters, and his works are among the most definitive of the Cuban Revolutionary Style.
Living in Mexico since 1988, he has continuously designed posters and is currently a professor of design. Among the revolutionary poster artists still with us today, he couldn't be more beloved; Ñiko has won countless awards and has had many exhibitions, programs and books published of his monumental work, including a new exhibition that appears to be currently active at the University Gallery Ramón Alva de la Canal in Xalapa, Veracruz (entitled 1/4 Century in Mexico, the exhibition features Ñiko's work from the past 25 years as well as a special series of 25 new posters based on Pablo Neruda's The Book of Questions).
Most wonderfully of all, Ñiko prolifically updates his own personal blog, a treasure trove of personal writings on art and design, lectures, interviews, favorite records and books, cat pictures, links to his students' work as well as beautiful catalogs of Niko's work viewable in PDF form. In a recent interview, Niko described his blog "a demonstration of all that sustains me in this world."
When I began designing movie posters in pursuit of a potential career, it was a book of Cuban posters that inspired me more than anything else. Thanks to Ñiko's blog and website, as well as Carol Goodman and Claudio Sotolongo's indespensible book Soy Cuba, I've been able to identify the man behind so many of my favorite designs. I present just a small sampling of them below, all shared respectfully from Ñiko's site (where you can view so many more). I know that I am only one of many, many young artists for whom Ñiko's work-- simply, colorful, humorous and constructed around iconic ideas-- remains a huge inspiration.