Rolando Estévez Jordán

Born in Matanzas, Cuba, Rolando Estévez Jordán (1953) is a poet and visual artist who works in multiple mediums, such as drawing, painting, installation, performance, stage design, and handmade book design. He teaches basic freestyle design and theatre design in Matanzas, where he is also a leading promoter and organizer of artistic events, competitions, exhibitions and other alternative cultural activities.

In 1985, Estévez and poet Alfredo Zaldívar founded Ediciones Vigía, a small publishing house specializing in handmade books of works by Cuban and international writers. Since that time, he has served as its principal designer and artist. As such, Estévez has designed the majority of its publications and also trained other Ediciones Vigía designers. His original creative work has come to define Vigia’s style. Estévez has created over 500 handmade artist books, magazines, plaquettes, and catalogs often in small editions. In addition, in the last few years, he has been producing one-of-a-kind books, and has now, in 2014, he has started a new venture entitled 'EL FORTIN'.   One of the most noticable differences will be that with  El Fortin, they will all be in both, English and Spanish, whereas with Vigia, the books where only in Spanish.  Estevez is hopeful that El Fortin will help be a cultural bridge between Cuba and the US.

Estévez’s  books are also collected privately and in cultural institutions in Europe and the US, such as the British National Library, the Atlantic Art Museum, the New York Museum of Modern Art (MOMA), the U.S. Library of Congress, as well as numerous universities in the U.S., Canada and other countries in the Americas.

With his stage designs, Estévez has participated in major theater festivals in Cuba and overseas.  Solo exhibitions of his drawings, one-of-a-kind books, and other graphic works have been held in Cuba, the U.S., Canada, Mexico, France, Venezuela, Martinique, and Australia. His work in the plastic arts has earned him multiple recognitions, such as the Roberto Diago Award (1992, 1993, 1994, 1995); the Fayad Jamis Grand Prize (1995); three times the National Graphic Prize (1995, 1997, 1999); the National Theater Design Award (1990, 2000); and, the highest honor, the National Book Design Award by the Instituto Cubano del Libro (2010).

He’s the author of poems like:
  • The Late God (Letras Cubanas, 1990);
  • Deep Skin (Ediciones Vigia 1991);
  • Suite for Voice and Heart in Black Suit (Ediciones de La Ciudad 1997);
  • Middle Sea (Ediciones Vigia, 2007) and
  • The Broken Vein (Ediciones Aldabon, 2010).
He’s won the Book Design Prize at the National Graphic Exhibit for three years in a row. He’s been twice the recipient of The Art of Book Design Prize, as well as the Fayad Jamis Grand Prize for a book collection designed by him for Vigia.

His 'mixed-media' visual art work has made the rounds in over two dozen collective and individual exhibitions in Cuba, the U.S., Mexico, France, Venezuela and Martinique.

Some of his main pieces are:
  • Pensamiento, dile a Fragancia (1990, drawings);
  • Canto a mí mismo y otras Guayaberas (1992, installations and drawings);
  • Las vitrinas del Llanero Solitario (1995, objects and installations);
  • La Séptima cena (1999, manipulated photos, installations and objects);
  • Dibujos para rascarse la cabeza (2000, drawings);
  • Spotlights primer tiempo (2005, drawings);
  • Spotlights segundo tiempo (2006, drawings and small installations);
  • Los libros del alma (2007, retrospective exhibit of books designed for Vigia);
  • Granos de miedo (2008, small-scale drawings).

He has been featured at various universities and on websites including: