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Weekly Edition 035: Saturday 27th October 2001

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Artists on Ibiza
by Louise Wright

Antonio Hormigo, The Sculptor of Ibiza
Exclusive Interview

LiveIbiza: One of your most famous sculptures is "Es Verro" (also known as "The Shouting Man") in San Antonio. How important is this statue to you?

Antonio Hormigo: I understand that "Es Verro" is very well known but it's definitely not one of my best sculptures.

San Antonio council asked me if I could make a monument to honour the farming community of San Antonio.

I didn't feel that a statue of a working farmer would be right so I thought maybe a "verro", who was the town's tough guy, would be more appropriate and I decided to sculpt him shouting an "uc", which symbolizes the start of a local fiesta.

The aim of my sculpture was to represent the positive side of living in San Antonio.

The monument was inaugurated in 1977 and sometimes I think that if I had to do it again maybe I would have done it differently.

Another reason why "Es Verro" isn't one of my favourites is the fact that it's made out of stone. Wood is definitely my favourite material.

LI: Is that because wood is easier to work with?

AH: Yes, I find it very pleasant to work with. I tend to use all types of wood, everything ranging from the normal pine tree to olive and oak trees, but nearly always Ibicencan wood.

Although I have to say that the type of wood isn't really important to me, it's the shape that gets my imagination going.

LI: Where or in what do you find inspiration?

AH: I get my inspiration from the grain and the natural shapes in the wood.

I always try to incorporate the branches into the sculpture and work with what I have, without adding any artificial parts.

The natural branches are strong but false extensions are weak and unnatural looking.

I don't usually plan what I'm going to sculpt before I start; I just let the wood inspire me.

Even when I do plan out my work it usually ends up being the complete opposite to my initial idea.

The olive tree and the carob tree I would have to say are two of my favourites as their shapes are so diverse.

LI: As an active sculptor you must use a lot of wood, where do you get your materials?

AH: I have never cut down a tree in my life so I can definitely say that my years of work haven't affected Ibiza's environment.

Actually, one of my best sculptures was made out of a large piece of driftwood. Even to this day I'm still not sure what type of wood it was. Some people believe it was beech but, as I said earlier, the type of wood isn't really important to me, it's the character of the wood that matters.

So, in a way, you could say I also recycle as well as creating art.

LI: On average, how long do you take to complete a sculpture?

AH: It all depends on the size of the sculpture but usually no longer than five months. I work every day on various pieces at the same time. I have no time limit so if I get stuck on one sculpture I just move on to the next.

LI: Do you consider that the significance of your art is easily captured?

AH: I believe that no one but the artist knows the real meaning of his or her art.

Most of my sculptures are not difficult to understand but there will always be some hidden meaning that only I will know.

LI: Do you think art is a profession that can be taught or is it a gift you are born with?

AH: It can be taught but it all depends on the person. If there is art on the inside, it's always easier to develop art on the outside. But, as I say, it depends on each individual artist. I consider myself to be very lucky because, in a way, my art has always came from the inside.

LI: Do you think it's easier to be artistic if you are brought-up in an artistic environment?

AH: Without a doubt. I was surrounded by art from early childhood; my father was an artist and my brothers were also very artistic.

For me it all seemed very natural.

LI: One of the main characteristics that define your art is the fact that most of your sculptures haven't got facial features, why?

AH: After many years sitting with my father all day in his workshop making little wooden faces that would later be made into bracelets and necklaces to sell to the tourists, I have developed a certain phobia to sculpting faces.

I suppose I'm rebelling from all those years of being stuck in my father's workshop!

Another reason my sculptures lack defining facial expression is because I don't feel I can take the liberty of adding personal features because I haven't got that information about the character.

Although, most people find that my art transmits enough sentiment and expression without the need to focus on minor facial type details.

LI: Rumour has it that Anthony Quinn's son, Lorenzo Quinn, is one of your many admirers.

AH: Lorenzo Quinn is just one of many artists that I share a strong friendship with.

I still remember the first time Lorenzo came to my house to see my work.

He is a very nice man and I have great respect for him and his art.

LI: Who buys most of your work?

AH: Mostly people from outside Ibiza, which is one of the reasons why I don't exhibit much on the island.

The German people seem to admire my work more that others and are my best customers. However, my latest project is a sculpture of a dove for an English man, which I'm going to call "Dove of peace, trophy of war".

LI: Have you any exhibitions planned for the near future?

AH: I hold an exhibition every two years in Can Berri gallery in San Agustin.

The next one is planned for 2002 and I have already all my sculptures completed.

Ensoñación - 1978
Almendro, 70 x 35 cm

Hemicránea - 1978
Algarrobo, 65 x 40 cm

El Reposo - 1979
Olivo, 46 x 33 cm

Espantapájaros - 1979
Sabina, 130 x 50 cm

Mujer Con Paloma - 1983
Pino, 70 x 60 cm

Amazona - 1987
Pino, 90 x 80 cm

All pictures courtesy of Antonio Hormigo Escandell

Louise Wright

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