Juan Cantavella was born in Orleans, France on June 14, 1941 in the middle of WWII, from refugee Spanish parents after they fled from Franco’s regime. In 1948 his family moved to Venezuela looking for better opportunities.

Growing up in Venezuela, when he was 15, he discovered his interest in art while he was convalescing from a surgery. Starting with “paint by numbers” kits he rapidly began painting on his own using the kit’s left over paints. His father thought that Juan should not waste time painting but study hard to become somebody with a future. However, he never quit painting, without direction or teaching, since art school was never an option. With the help of his mother Juan continued to paint with brushes and paints she secretly provided him.

Once he finished high school he enrolled in the University to study Physics to satisfy his father’s desire of wanting Juan to become a scientist. After three semesters trying to move forward in vain he enrolled in Architectural studies which was the closest major related to his artistic aspirations, leaving his father greatly disappointed.

Life became complicated when Juan got married. He had to work to support his family and attend classes at the University. Painting fell to third place in priorities. Nevertheless inspired by the free hand drawing classes he was taking at the University; in 1968 he painted “Nino Japreria” for the Annual Salon of Architecture Students.

After earning his Architecture degree, and with three small children, work responsibilities kept his painting opportunities at the hobby level for many years, painting from time to time when some long weekend or little vacation gave him the freedom to paint something. But Juan never stopped dreaming of painting full time, perhaps when he retired. In that difficult time he painted “Tarzan” in 1985 for a competition organized by the Government of the Sucre Estate for the 400th anniversary of the City of Cumana, Venezuela, winning an Honorable Mention.

In 2002, he came to America looking for new opportunities as the Venezuelan economy and political landscape deteriorated rapidly. It was here he discovered that his dream of painting could become a reality. In 2005 he began painting murals in private homes and businesses building a strong client portfolio in the San Francisco area that kept him busy.

Juan continued his self instruction by alternating his work as a Muralist with a constant study and practice focused on improving his knowledge, skills and technique.

In 2014 Juan moved form California to Texas where he settled his studio in the Houston area, now painting full time in pursuit of the highest artistic levels, Juan says that art is a never-ending learning process.

Juan Cantavella is a member of:

  • The Woodlands art League
  • Lone Star Art Guild
  • Portrait Society of America
  • Oil Painters of America
  • National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society

Awards and Recognitions received

Alamo Danville Artist Society, Ca.
Spring Art Show 2011
Artists Choice,   ‘Victoria Thoughts”

Alamo Danville Artist Society, Ca.
Spring Art Show 2012
First Place      “Foggy Sunrise”

Yolo County Fair, Ca.
Summer 2012
First Award     “Victoria Thoughts’

Elk Grove Fine Arts Center, Ca.
Open Fine Art Competition 2013
Honorable Mention     “The Hunter”

Yolo County Fair, Ca.
Summer 2013
First award      “A little Break”

Sacramento Fine Arts Center, Ca.
Magnum Opus Art Judged Show,  August 2013
Honorable Mention     “Mama Encarna”

Gallery 625  Woodland, Ca.
Sept.5 – Oct 1st   2013
Solo Show   “Words Apart”

Northern California Arts Inc.  Ca.
75th Anniversary Membership Show.
Jan. 2nd – 25th, 2014
Best of Show     “Papa Vicente”

The Woodlands Art League, Texas.
Spring Judged Show, 2015
Best Portrait    “The Racer”

Tomball Art League, Texas.
Fall Open Art Show, 2015
Best of Show    “Kisha”

Tomball Art League, Texas.
Fall Open Art Show, 2015
First Place      “Lady with Hat”

The Woodlands Art League, Texas.
Fall Judged Show, 2015.
Best of Show    “Beach Day”

The Woodlands Art League, Texas.
Fall Judged Show, 2015.
First Place Pastel    “Lake Sunset”

The Woodlands Art League, Texas.
Fall Judged Show, 2015.
First Place Oil       “Santa”

The Woodlands Art League, Texas.
Spring Judged Show, 2016.
First Place      “Love”

Lone Star Art Guild, Texas
2016 Convention
Best Portrait     “Anna”

The Woodlands Art League, Texas.
Fall Judged Show, 2016.
First Place & Best Portrait.   “The Pionner”

Texas, USA

+1 707-372-8301

juancantavella@yahoo.com