"A documentary of experience and unhinged interpretation while travelling to extraordinary and unknown places with Andrew Kuo."


Lured by the tropical heat and vivid colours of the Carribbean, Lachie embarked on a three month journey to Cuba and the Americas in 2013. Accompanied by friend and music artist Andrew Kuo (Yon Yonson), their keen sense of adventure, naive at best, led them to travel, document and create on a trip that covered Los Angeles, Havana and the isle of Cuba, Toronto and New York.


Capturing his impressions of a spirited and resilient Cuban culture in his sketchbook, Hinton documented the animated characters, vibrant landscapes and bizarre contradictions of the isolated and time-warped country. Beyond the visual charm of Cuba's eclectic crumbling architecture and 1950s cars, Hinton's body of work depicts a tragic undercurrent of daily life in Cuba, a cocktail of revolutionary propaganda, economic disaster and rum.



PaintingsDrawings

Old Man with Cigar
acrylic on plywood
90 x 60 cm
2013

Still Life with Buddha, T.V Remote, Havana Club and Marlboro Ashtray
arcylic on plywood
60 x 90 cm
2013

Figaro's House
acrylic and fabric on plywood
60 x 90 cm
2013

Catedral de la Purisma Conception
acrylic on plywood
90 x 60 cm
2013

Barberia el Figaro
acrylic and mirror on plywood
60 x 90 cm
2013

Valle de Vinales
acrylic on plywood
60 x 90 cm
2013

Santa Maria Beach
acrylic on plywood
60 x 90 cm
2013

The Georgian Hotel, Santa Monica
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

The Georgian Hotel II
graphite on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Venice, Los Angeles
graphite on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013


ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Venice Beach Dude
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Barberia el Figaro
ink on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Still Life with Buddha, T.V Remote, Havana Club and Marlboro Ashtray
ink and acrylic on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Valle de Vinales
ink on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Casa del Fundador, Cienfuegos
ink on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013


ink on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Muelle Real, Cienfuegos
graphite on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013


ink on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Sweatshop, Santa Clara
ink on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013


ink and acrylic on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Santiago de Cuba
graphite on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Baracoa
ink, acrylic an charcoal on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Rooftop Cactus
ink, acrylic an charcoal on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Crocodile
ink and charcoal on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Crocodile Farm
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Crocodile Farm II
ink, acrylic an charcoal on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Man Carries Disabled Parter into the Ocean at Santa Maria Beach
ink, acrylic an charcoal on paper
30 x 42 cm
2013

Old Havana
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Old Woman with a Cat
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm

Catedral de la Purisma Conception
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Taps for Sale, Santa Clara
ink on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Bird for Sale
ink and acrylic on paper
42 x 30 cm
2013

Domino Players
watercolour on paper
35 x 28 cm
2013

Old Man with Cigar
ink on paper
35 x 28 cm
2013

Singapore Sling
ink on paper
35 x 28 cm
2013

Pina Colada
ink on paper
35 x 28 cm
2013

Bluw Hawaiian
ink on paper
35 x 28 cm
2013

Testimonies From Cuba (And Beyond)

Havana Was a Good Idea

Travelling to Cuba was never actually my idea, but that of my travel companion and music artist Andrew Kuo. Sure, I was the one who raised the idea of an extended trip overseas, but it was the lure of this distant Caribbean island that actually made him want go. Having recently collaborated on a number of creative projects, I couldn’t think of anyone better to go with for producing new material, let alone anyone else being able to withstand my incessant sketching or his chronic beat making episodes. But that was just the thing; we both understood that the premise of the trip was as much about creating as it was drinking rum under a palm tree on a desolate beach. We were adamant about translating our experiences into honest music and art.

After a brief interval at Los Angeles we reached Cuba, travelling for the three weeks in Havana and three weeks completing a circuit of every main city around the island. Throughout my travels I carried two sketchbooks, seven mangled tubes of acrylic paint, a mixing tray, four brushes, a bundle of charcoal and a bunch of ink pens. I completed forty-one works in total, visually chronicling the characters and places I encountered along the route. However, more than anything, this is simply a documentary of experience and unhinged interpretation while travelling to extraordinary and unknown places with Andrew Kuo.

No Sleep in Culver City

“Welcome to Los Angeles”.  We jumped in the first cab out to LAX, where our good humour had got us past the first checkpoint of bureaucratic scrutinisation, but it was only a matter of time before some power-tripping CBP official who’d missed his early morning caffeine hit didn’t warm to our sleep-deprived sensibilities. We’d get thrown in some room without windows and cop the full force of his decaffeinated, patriotic haemorrhage. Jesus, we’d be done.

The next minute we were flying down some seven-lane highway at top speed, northbound, with dog-faced, two tonne masses of all-American production power hurtling past into oblivion. We pulled into Grand View Boulevard, driving past a decrepit trailer park.
“4025” I told the cabbie. “Apartment 13.”
He pulled up on the roadside, pausing for a moment, before promptly doing a U-turn.
“We’ve gone past it”, he replied.

As we stood outside the trailer park with our bags, the cabbie left in a spurt of smoke that I imagine only had him grinning at our misfortune. A crow cawed to break the bleak silence, as we realised our 'apartment' turned out to be a trailer inside - a good start.

We decided to check out the neighbourhood, our minds half absent from twenty-four hours of no sleep. It was surreal; all so familiar yet unusual. I’d lived it before through TV and video games, where everything was inconsequential and absorbed. Or maybe it really was? We passed a fast food joint at almost every block, followed by grimy auto shops and scummy motels. The place was a dump. The streets went for miles, with commercialised contcrete consumption swallowing the horizon whole. The palm trees that lined them were skewed high above, as if they too were trying to escape the madness but bound by their toxin sucking roots. It wasn’t long before we headed back to our trailer, where after a few Kona Big Wave Golden Ales our minds began to fail, and gave way to sleep. But no, there was no sleep to be had in Culver City. The sound of an overhead chopper washed over me at one a.m., which was followed by endless hours of cop sirens and more helicopters. Where had we come to? The land of the free? The City of Angels? What a magnificence pretence, or maybe we just weren’t looking hard enough.

Barberia el Figaro

Barberia el Figaro was arguably one of the hairdressing salons less frequented by people genuinely looking for a haircut. When we moved to our casa in Old Havana, we befriended Hector “Figaro” Buides the barber next door, after it became impossible to leave without walking past his shopfront. He would excitably greet us everyday, and it wasn’t long before he had our business and Andrew was filming him shaving my head for a Yon Yonson music video. Having only been in the country a bit over a week, we were truly rolling the dice agreeing to accompany Hector and his band of mischievously styled amigos in Barberia el Figaro for a rum-filled night, which was our initial unembellished, first-hand experience of Cuban nightlife beyond the tourist hot spots and hangouts. For this particular piece a long story cannot be cut short, so here is the entire, uncut, honest anecdote, written a couple of dehydrated days after for the purpose of a book that never was...

There was no point trying to explain. Justifying the previous night would have been difficult in English, let alone Spanish. Thankfully our casa owner Pepe had decided to act like nothing had happened, however as he sat down at the breakfast table it was obvious that he was still pissed.

We’d been living with Pepe and his family for five days and in that time had struck up a friendship with the barber next door, Hector or "Figaro" as his amigos would call him. He was a stocky man of African descent, who loved the sounds of Alpha Blondy and Bob Marley. He gave the impression that it would be better to stay on his good side, due to his slick, shaved head bar a thick, triangular tuft on the back, gold, circular earrings and a tendency to never smile. This well cultivated image was misleading, as within a couple of days we were dining with his charming, welcoming family.

One night he called us in for a drink with a few of his amigos. By the end of the first bottle of rum we were all having a great time. “No Woman No Cry” was blaring, the Spang-lish conversations were entertaining and our perception of Cuban people was at an all-time high.

The second bottle went down just as smoothly, although the eldest of the group, who adopted the alias “Old Mate”, was starting to get a little over exuberant.
“Cuban girls very beautiful! The best in the world!”, he repeated numerous times. While we couldn’t disagree with him, we told him explicitly that both of us had girlfriends back in Australia. This prompted his second catchphrase of the night,
“You only live once boy, she don’t see she don’t know.”

Three bottles of rum in and things had taken a momentous turn for the worse. At some point Old Mate had disappeared. We wrongly assumed that he had finally gone home for some sleep but forty-five minutes later he returned with three expectant looking prostitutes. Despite us telling him repeatedly that we weren’t interested, he misinterpreted our pleas as,
“No we’re not interested in this prostitute but please go out and find us some more.”

At one point we were awkwardly conversing with the sixth or seventh prostitute when one of the more exuberant of Figaro's mates ushered us into a back room. Figaro’s ten-year-old son was asleep on a foldout bed, while Old-Mate and his friends were all crouched in the dark around an antiquated television. We weren’t really interested in what they were watching as our intentions were solely to escape the deluge of prostitutes, but when we realised it was hard-core porn we began to wonder whether this place was even a barberia at all.

By this time it was four a.m. and we decided to end the madness and return to our room. One committed prostitute had stuck it out, and she had been sitting patiently beside us for hours. We apologized for wasting her time, and told her that we still weren’t interested. She and Old Mate formed a defiant chorus of immorality, but when she eventually realised it wasn’t getting through, her seductive act turned to monetary whinging. She wouldn’t take 'no' for an answer. We were happy to give her five dollars for a taxi just to see the end of her, but our frequent trips to the liquor store had devilishly emptied our wallets.

We had no option but to go back to our casa where we had our remaining funds, and it was no surprise that she insisted on tagging along. We reached the front door, regaining focus from the depths of our intoxication. The key turned slowly and precisely. Our shoes were silent as we snuck through the living room. Suddenly the light switch clicked, and the dodgy appearance of our predicament flooded our minds as quickly as illumination flooded the room. Pepe, barely containing his rage, stood statue-esque with one finger aimed at the door.

Figaro's House

Despite our awkward night at Barberia el Figaro, we became so acquainted with Hector that he invited us to his casa in Habana Vieja several times for dinner. Andrew and I were so grateful to have such an authentic Cuban experience, as we had recently learned how rare it was for tourists and locals to mingle to such a degree. During the walks between Barberia el Figaro and Hector’s house he would frequently be approached by police, who would eye us off and quiz him on why he was hanging out with us. He later informed us that the policeman was in fact looking out for our own well being, but maybe it was more to do with Figaro's apparent contacts for “ganja” and his friend’s outlawed phonographic DVDs.

Either way, Hector and his family were the most genuine and friendly Cubans we met the whole six weeks. His house was a mish-mash of materials, patterns, colours, ornaments, furniture and décor. We sat on the couch drinking rum and watching an Alpha Blondy DVD blasting at full volume until his wife and Old Mate finished cooking up some of the nicest food we had all trip. This was protocol for the Buides household, or sometimes his daughters would eagerly put on a (now officially outlawed due to vulgarity) reggaeton music video DVD and hammer our ears until we were forced to call it a night, too polite to ask for something slightly less unbearable. Despite the reggaeton we felt as though in terms of an authentic Cuban experience, it really didn’t get better than this.

Sitting on Hector’s couch one night I noticed how well the objects sitting on his coffee table summed up Cuban life at some rudimentary level. The mix of a Buddha holding U.S dollars, T.V. remote, Havana Club and Marlboro ashtray was a terrific sight of glowing social, political and spiritual contradictions. Andrew and I had come to agree that Cuba was in fact a country of countless contradictions, from grandiose hotels in the midst of crumbling buildings to taxi drivers making tenfold the income of doctors or lawyers to Castro’s socialist system that has suppressed the nation of economic prosperity and equilibrium. Despite Cuba’s resistance to the United States, the pre-60s American cars, rampant American influenced reggaeton, and a loosening political grip to allow a more free and democratic society here, and Hector’s Marlboro ashtray with Buddha’s U.S. dollars in hand were only reinforcing such a viewpoint.

Bici-Taxi

From the moment we landed to the moment we left Cuba, we were being offered rides by bici-taxis in droves. The bici-taxi was surely another byproduct of inherent Cuban inventiveness; attaching a pedal bike to the front of a makeshift chariot. And when you realise that being a taxi driver earns you more than a qualified doctor or lawyer in Cuba, it’s not hard to wonder why. The damn things were everywhere, in fact the only place we didn’t encounter any was in Valle de Vinales, which was likely due to the imposition that an uncompromisingly steep landscape makes when peddling 150kgs around. As annoying as they initially were, it only took a few rides to convert us into relentless, deal-breaking, bici-taxi-hailing fiends. Brilliant, another $1 ride to the Internet cafe! By the time we reached Baracoa on the far eastern end of the island, our Spanish bici-taxi negotiating skills had hit an all-time cocky high.

In the damp heat of a thirty-five degree day we casually instructed our willing driver to take us to the airport or “aeropuerto” to find a car rental agency. At some point between gazing at the sweat dripping down his neck and pulling up at the beach at the opposite end of town we realised our indiscretion. As frustrated as both parties now were, he insisted that we had said “playa” or "beach". Our newfound haggling dictatorship crumbled but to our astonishment he was willing to go on, all the way back through town to the airport. It was sheer madness in such heat. Being too far out of town to walk we struck up a far more generous deal with him. What he apparently failed to inform us of was a giant hill between town and the airport. If pulling us safely out of a hurtling heap of antiquated bike parts bolted together with the durability of my childhood go-kart wasn’t enough to earn him a tip, his earlier business-minded decision not to tell us about the hill sure as hell was.