Special Collaboration w/ Artist Néstor Parets Selva (Interview)

Néstor Parets Selva was introduced to Cremo by sister company Kcull Gallery and Marketplace a local artist community development project through whom he showcases his photography, oil painting, and wooden, cigar and jewelry box mixed media art.

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Cremo set out to redefine the uniqueness of their corporate gifts: a very special commission for Cuban artist Néstor Parets Selva, who has custom-designed and painted hand-made wooden cigar boxes for Friends and Clients of Cremo’s top client, Phantom Fireworks.

Néstor spoke to us, shedding some light on this very special project in this brief Q&A.

Here is what he had to say.

Q Why did Cremo contact you for this very special premium collaboration project?

A Two main reasons. For starters, I was born in Cuba, in 1962, and I currently live in Miami. The second is my personal experience. I have been linked to cigar production since an early age. As a boy, in my quaint hometown of Baracoa, in the far east of Cuba, my granddad owned a tobacco store. I was always fascinated with the world of cigar rolling and smoking: the many stories that came and went, the very special hands of the torcedores, which also had a story to tell, in and of themselves. When I grew up to became a multifaceted artist, I dabbled in photography. My main themes were everyday people, life and heritage Cuba, with a very special eye for tobacco farming and culture. This took me on extended photography missions to the tobacco-producing regions of Las Villas and Pinar del Río.

Q Oh… so you based yourself on these images for the Cremo commission?

A That’s right. The project was very intent on casting the roots and tradition of Cremo’s cigar handcrafting world, which inevitably brings you to Cuba. So, all the images used are my own. They span a whole lifetime and confer each and every one of these boxes an objectively unique flavor from the get-go. Which was the idea…

Q How long have you been at this and what specific technique did you use here?

A I’ve been an artist since 1985, when I first exhibited my handcrafts. I’m an artisan, photographer and painter, mainly working with recovered and recycled material, giving my work a true eco feel. This project called for mixed media art, combining photography with the handiwork and painting of wood.

Q How was the experience of working with Cremo on this very special project?

A This collaboration with Cremo was all-new to me. It brought me back so vividly to the farming of tobacco, those fields where everything becomes art: from the early treatment of the leaves, the worker’s conscientiousness in the tobacco houses, to the actual cigar rolling or torcedura—expert hands transforming the physicality of leaves into what will be an utter explosion of the senses, smell, taste, eyesight, touch— and, of course, the smoking that marks the joyful finale.

Q Do you consume Cremo cigars?

I have tried Cremo and consider that it covers all the bases and expectations of a seasoned smoker. I have even recommended and gifted it to friends on special occasions. I was also aware of Cremo before I tried it: in my mind it stood for a quality brand with great aroma and elegance.