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Monday, February 11, 2008

A Bunch of Leaves II

One of the most important things we teach Tobacconists [getting Certified] is the amazing and unparalleled nature of the premium cigar. Great works of art, crystal, furniture, and architecture are created in less time than a great cigar; and they last lifetimes! …While the destiny of a cigar, through combustion, is to return to dust. Cigar lovers and Tobacconists can appreciate the value of a cigar because there is no other product like it on earth!
But few of us have had the opportunity to see cigars and tobacco as HIGH ART (in a way that transcends their use). Many of us have seen extraordinary cigars that seem like sculptures (i.e. bats, pipes, multi-colored figurados), but few of us have actually seen cigar tobacco sculptures. This amazing work of art (and others) were created by Janio Nunez Leal, an artist I had the privilege of meeting in the late ’90s. He sculpts with tobacco and uses only a light infrastructure which he covers with cigar leaf; using hybridized bunching and wrapping techniques he learned as a cigar roller in Cuba.
(I must divulge that I have a company called ArtistaCuba which collects and imports (when legal) Cuban art. I met Janio in Havana many years ago and have never gotten over his amazing creations. He was a cigar roller turned master sculptor and I am sure he has never received the acclaim and success he deserved. To my knowledge, no one on the planet has ever accomplished what he has.)
Top Picture: Janio Nunez Leal, Alejandro Robaina, and lifesize tobacco sculpture of Winston Churchill, circa 1999.

Jorge Armenteros, CMT

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