Fresquet, the design as a vocation.

Article by writer and journalist Luis de la Paz  published in Diario Las Américas

At the entrance of the Universal library, on the right hand side, there is a white shelf where the novelties of the publisher are placed. Before Juan Carlos tries to sell you any, the visitor will be attracted not only by the names of the authors and the titles of the books, but by the covers full of vivid colors and attractive shapes, which invite to break the distance between the book and The reader, take a copy in the hands and caress it, feel the texture, smell and magic that comes off the book.

In Miami, a city as provincial as cosmopolitan, any change that occurs in their multiple faces, is easily evident. And the profile of Ediciones Universal has changed for the better in recent times, and all thanks to the graphic work of Luis García Fresquet, who has been in charge for three years the design of most covers of the books of the publishing house .

The artist knows that his work has been very positive, and this is appreciated by showing his legacy with satisfaction, explain how cumbersome it sometimes is to design the book covers: «Sometimes a writer wants an element contributed by him to appear in The cover, and that makes the composition difficult, but in others it serves as a starting point for creativity, «says Fresquet, who considers that to achieve a good cover:» It is important to have read the book, and from there look for an image that Reflect the essence of the text, making it as attractive as possible, so that the reader will like that cover and invite you to read the work.

Luis García Fresquet began his career in the Havana press of the 1950s, then studied graphic design in the Cuban capital, his native city, and worked in his branch at the University of Havana, in the University Magazine, until went to exile via Spain. There he worked in the Editorial Playor of Carlos Alberto Montaner. In its new stage of exile, already in Miami, knows through the own Montaner to the publisher Juan Manuel Salvat. From that point on, his link with Ediciones Universal began. «I have to recognize that Salvat has been an excellent person, who has let me realize what I thought I should do as a designer, which is nothing more than trying to give the best, and make a more contemporary, updated and according to the modern techniques. He has allowed me to develop; That is to say it said to me: Believe and I have created. I consider that modestly I have established a kind of design face to the publisher which is one of the most important Spanish-speaking houses in the United States, and that in the Cuban case has managed to keep the Cuban culture in exile. «

Garcia Fresquet is the nephew of the well-known caricaturist Fresquito Fresquet, and although he had some relatives who studied at the painting academy of San Alejandro, and devoted themselves to drawing, his vocation is practically not acquired, but he was born with it. His success has been achieved through careful study of possible techniques and a spirit of dedication to the craft. He acknowledges that technology is advancing by leaps and bounds, and that graphic resources are bringing dazzling elements to the present: «I think that if a designer’s hand is not behind a design, the computer, the sophisticated programs, the unlimited possibilities of To combine the colors, it takes the artist, the talent «.

It is not easy to make him choose one of the covers of books made for Ediciones Universal that he considers more successful, but for those shown on the screen of his computer, it is clear that he feels satisfied with those made for the dictionaries of José Sánchez. Boudy, and the Congo Dictionary by Lydia Cabrera, Gaston Baquero’s La erosion del tiempo (The Erosion of Time), La narrative cubana entre la memoria y el olvido (The Cuban Narrative Between Memory and Oblivion) by Matías Montes Huidobro, Earthmayans (Joseph Says Science Fiction Book), and La Edad de Oro, and Antología sin tierra (Landless Anthology), by Luis Mario, «simple cover, where only through images can transmit the essence of the book.»

The work of this Cuban designer has been so praised and valuable, that it is becoming difficult to conceive a book of Ediciones Universal, in which the note that says «Design cover Luis García Fresquet.»

" . . . Es indudable su cabal dominio
de las diversas
posibilidades en cuanto
a estiló adecuado a las necesidades
específicas. Donde más evidente
se hace su dominio
es en las ilustraciones, de suaves líneas
y colores, de los libros. . ."

Félix Beltrán
"Acerca de la exposición de Luis G. Fresquet (Chamaco)".

Feast of dolls and drawings, critic of Waldo González López published in the magazine Bohemia

In the «Búsqueda» (search) exhibition – a title that responds to the artists’ intentions – a combination of aesthetic interests was proposed (and achieved), based on the search for handcrafted designs and the beautiful dolls of Nury A. Rodríguez and the drawings, as well as other textile designs made with elements from the illustrations of Luis G. Fresquet. The result? A magnificent example that, apart from being beautified by the naive, the bright colors, the simple line in drawing and children’s poetry, do not forget their Cuban roots (…).

Nury Rodríguez, a handicraft artist, has also established her work as a graphic designer, which favors her good taste and «grace» that identifies her personal dolls that are now joined by the graphic of Luis G. Fresquet that always leaves its imprint In all that he does, as a King Midas: His illustrations for the prizes of children’s literature of the March 13 Contest, as well as his cartoons, partially collected in his book Yo, Tú, Él y el humor – published in Portugal and in Cuba -, corroborate it. His beautiful images for the boys have been enjoyed in important samples from Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Hungary, Canada, Czechoslovakia, Poland, USA, Mexico, Chile and Cuba. For his designs and drawings, moreover, he has deserved more than 20 awards. His wife, Nury, and he, just gave the visitors of the Museum of Colonial Art a warm, splendid, Cuban party.

Waldo González López, writer, poet and literary critic. Taken from the critics Festival of Dolls and Drawings published in the magazine Bohemia about the exhibition "Search", exhibited in the Museum of Colonial Art of Havana.

A Palomar to shelter the children, critic of Joel Franz Rosell published in the newspaper Vanguardia

This collection, with a careful edition of the poet Francisco de Oráa, and achieved Héctor Villaverde’s design on the excellent illustrations of Luis G. Fresquet, opens the much-needed collection Ismaelillo, in which UNEAC will gather his books for boys. The indisputable achievement of this edition is only to be regretted that the print is so limited and that the material shortcomings we all know have led to the decision to reproduce the beautiful and appropriate drawings of Fresquet without the most significant poetic resource in the illustration for children: the color.

And Luis García Fresquet, who is today one of our most capable artists in this work of setting the literature for the smallest, perfectly dominates the color; That is proved by the attractive cover of Palomar.

Books of such utter beauty do not come daily from the press.

Joel Franz Rosell
“Un Palomar para cobijar a los niños”,
Periódico Vanguardia, Santa Clara, Cuba.