Jessi Flores, the man behind some of the most colorful pieces of cigar art, is leaving Drew Estate and Subculture Studios, the art program he helped build over the last two decades.
Drew Estate announced that Flores, the director of Subculture Studios, is leaving the company to pursue other business ventures after two decades with the company.
In 1999, Jonathan Drew, the company’s co-founder, discovered Flores and his street art in Estelí. Shortly after, Flores started working for Drew, first as a driver before becoming the leader of the in-house art program now known as Subculture Studios. Whether or not consumers have ever been to the physical studio, located next to the Drew Estate factory, they’ve inevitably seen its work.
Subculture is best known for producing custom Drew Estate-branded items as display pieces for retailers: shoes, cigar molds, cigar cases, hats and ashtrays; but it also is responsible for the silk-screening of some of the company’s boxes. In addition, guests to Drew Estate’s factory tour program, Cigar Safari, oftentimes bring items—both large and small—to have custom decorated by one of the dozens of artists at Subculture, including tattoos, another medium for Flores.
“My years at Drew Estate have been incredible, and I am so proud to have played a role with our employees, our customers and our loyal fans to make Drew Estate the best company in the cigar business,” said Flores in a press release. “The most special part of the experience has been working with the many artists of Subculture Studios, and seeing them grow as artists, as people, and as friends. I know that I leave Subculture in great hands, and that it will continue to create innovative and beautiful art for Drew Estate. I want to thank everyone at Drew Estate and all fans of Subculture Studios for an unbelievable twenty-year ride together. I especially want to thank Jonathan Drew for taking a chance on a young street artist. Now is the right time for me to pursue new opportunities.”
Richard “Dog” Diaz will take over the creative leadership for Subculture, while Marvin Montoya will oversee the production and logistics for the studio.
“Beyond building Subculture Studios into a game-changing artistic workshop, Jessi’s creative spirit and extraordinary artistic talent have been a centerpiece in the culture of Drew Estate itself,” said Jonathan Drew. “After so many years of singular focus, we understand Jessi’s need to expand his scope of creativity and explore new ventures.”