Juan T. Vazquez Martin is among of the great Cuban masters of painting; he is also considered to be one of Cuba’s leading abstract painters. Through dedication to artistic freedom he has played a seminal role in keeping abstract art alive in Cuba. The so called Grey Period or El Quinquenio Gris in Cuban culture, between 1970–1976, seriously undermined abstract art and indeed experimentation in all areas of the arts in Cuba. Art was seen as a useful propaganda tool and whilst no artist was forbidden to work in a certain way, only those artists whose work conformed to what was considered acceptable were supported. Many artists left the country. Juan T. Vazquez Martin’s refusal to leave Cuba and his steadfast commitment to his personal artistic vision exacted a heavy economic and personal cost, losing him official patronage and promotion. His courageous maintenance of his artistic vision in the face of real hardship has nevertheless enabled him to develop a unique style of painting which now has had a profound influence on the new generation of young Cuban artists.
He has been Director of a number of Schools of Visual Arts in Cuba and has taught various well known Cuban artists including Flora Fong, Gabriel Gutierrez, Nasario Salazar, Oscar Rodriguez Laseria and Joel Jover.
At the age of 16 he won a prestigious and highly competitive scholarship to the Academia Leopoldo Romañach in Santa Clara, renowned as the most progressive art school in Cuba at that time. His art has been influenced by his close friendship with the renowned Cuban painters Hugo Consuega and Tapia Ruano, but over the years he has developed his own and unique style of painting.