Bruno Casiano

Bruno Casiano is a Puerto Rican painter based in Cleveland who combines traditional and contemporary art. He is on the one hand rooted in forms and themes inspired in traditional Puerto Rican silk screens, with characteristic solid colors, imagery and shapes from his native Island and on the other hand free to explore innovative collage, stencil, pyrography and other non-traditional mixed media techniques. In the end, despite the artistic departures, the flavor of Casiano’s work remains strongly Puerto Rican in essence.

Born in Gary, Indiana, the son of a steel worker, Bruno’s family moved back to their hometown, Juana Diaz, a rural community in Puerto Rico, when he was 9 years old. Young Casiano developed an  interest in art awakened by these rural surroundings and by the awareness of living in an Island, which made an impression on him. In his present work, regardless of the technique he chooses, from a traditional perspective he emulates the look and feel of silk screens, which are important in Puerto Rican tradition. In addition to that, the imagery of mountains, mangos, ceiba trees, caves, leaves, branches and water, and colors and forms in high contrast are common themes in Casiano’s work.

In Puerto Rico, he studied panting at the School of Plastic Arts in Old San Juan in the early 1980s. He pursued further studies in illustration at The School of Design, Altos de Chavon in La Romana, Dominican Republic and, in the mid-1990s, at the Cleveland Institute of Art in Ohio. For a few years he owned and curated the Bruno Casiano Gallery in the West side of Cleveland. The Gallery eventually became unviable, but Bruno Casiano continues know and be known by most artists in the area.

One distinct innovation in some of his work features the decoration of the frames he uses for his art. Not wanting to stop at the edge of the canvas, Casiano paints, wraps, stains and engraves the pine wood frames he uses with written text and poetry of his own authorship, carved with a nail or pyrograph, or wrapped with vintage magazine cutouts, creating a literally expressive frame for his artwork. Casiano receives regular commissions and his work is frequently on exhibit.

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