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Weekly Edition 043: Saturday 22th December 2001

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Artists on Ibiza
by José P Ribas

Carlos Genicio - Perfectionist

They were the posters that launched a thousand party nights.  They made an Ibiza nightclub into one of the world's most famous discos and were avidly collected by fans on holiday from all over the world.

Carlos Díaz Genicio's artwork did for Es Paradis Terrenal in Ibiza what Tolouse-Lautrec did for the Moulin Rouge in Paris a century before.

He was born in Oviedo (Asturias) on 9th June 1952, and studied in the Arts School of Oviedo, where he soon started to be distinguished and gain a good reputation as a very talented young artist, with a bright future ahead.

Carlos had his first individual exhibition at the age of nineteen, in the "Casa del Arte y la Cultura" de Oviedo, and also in the same year, in a private art gallery, "Galería Benedet" in Aviles (Asturias), with big success in both. In the following years, he participated in more individual and collective exhibitions in his homeland, Asturias.

In this part of his early life, Carlos won and was honoured with several painting awards for his artistic work. At the same time, he was also popular because of working as a humorist, another face of his artistic talent, drawing a cartoon for a magazine "Asturias Semanal" an interesting art and culture magazine, popular in Asturias in those days.

Then came the army days. It was there and then, when he heard about Ibiza and its style of life from one of his best friends, who was at university and therefore didn't have to go in the army until his studies were over. This friend came to Eivissa for his summer holidays and was so impressed by the Island and its way of life that when he was back home he couldn't stop talking about it and convinced Carlos to visit the Balearic Islands as soon as he was released from military service.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Eivissa (still Ibiza those days as Ibicenco-Catalán was forbidden as an official language until the new democratic constitution in 1978) had a special magnetism, a kind of mystical and aura of freedom. It was like a world apart, a country by itself, not just miles and miles away, but also years and years away, somehow in the past, somehow in the future of the rest of Spain. It was irresistible for the talented young ones, not just from Spain, but from all over the world. (The colourful and peaceful hippie philosophy, with free love, nudist beaches, psychedelic drugs and new sounds, helped to increase the aura of advanced freedom and tolerance of this Island, the first "hippie colony" in Europe, nothing to do with the black or white, therefore grey and dull Spain of Franco's dictatorship).

So, in 1975, Carlos Genicio, after leaving his friends in Mallorca, came for the first time to the Island. As he was arriving by boat into Ibiza's harbour, on the deck of the ferry, just by himself, with the sight of the silhouette of the old town "Dalt Vil-la" in the sunset-twilight, the magic of the moment and the place, it was love at first sight! He knew that this trip was going to be very important for the rest of his life. As soon as he stepped on land and saw the environment, the people of different colours, from all parts of the world, living and working together in the hippie market in the streets near by the old marina, he knew then that this was also his place. Next morning, as he had arrived without a peseta, he was already doing portraits of the tourists in Ibiza's harbour street market.

This is how Carlos explains why he came to the Island, his arrival and first impressions of Eivissa.

Carlos was living off his art, earning good money painting portraits in the street for the tourists until the summer was over. It was for him another shock to see how life changes here from summer to winter. Without tourists he didn't know how to earn a living, but when he discovered the "other", the "real" Eivissa, its nature and its genuine people, he didn't want to go from here. In the winter, when the tourists were gone and the market was closed, he started producing a new and personal type of terracotta dolls, little "payesas" painted by hand that sell very well in all the shops.

After almost two years, Carlos had to leave the Island for personal reasons, he went back to Asturias, and from there to Paris, where he continued living off his art; he was painting in his little studio, and two girls were selling the paintings in the streets, fifty-fifty with him. Carlos suffered some kind of crisis in those years, most probably an extra-dose of "will for freedom"; he felt somehow trapped by the past. He was not interested at all in new painting exhibitions, he even destroyed his own "curriculum" and most of the diplomas and awards of his young years (this is why he can not tell now how many and where he had some of his first exhibitions). This problem had nothing to do with any drugs or anything like it. Carlos doesn't identify himself with the hippies, he is not interested in drugs, he already had seen too much of the harm that drugs can do. He is more of a Latino bohemian, a little drop of wine, cider or whisky will do. I have always seen him with his head well fixed on his shoulders and his feet on the ground.

Carlos was back in Eivissa in 1980, moving to Sant Antoni, where he continued painting portraits for the tourists in the marina promenade (among his first new clients was a German couple here on their honeymoon. Carlos painted them both. Twenty years later, at the end of the summer of 1999, the same couple returned to Sant Antoni, looking for him to paint them again. It had to be him, it couldn't be anybody else and she still looks beautiful in the new painting).

Carlos portraits must be in most of the countries of the world, after more then twenty years of painting people from all nationalities and races, but his most popular and well known creations, the series of posters that he created for "Es Paradis Terrenal" are anonymous to the greater majority of people, even for those who possess them.

These "Paradis" posters were done with revolutionary techniques at the time, using computer techniques and compositions, as soon as they were available for the first time on the Island.  Carlos is now a real expert, the best in this technique, because he has been doing at least a new one a week, four months per year since 1980. They are, according to the art experts, little masterpieces, especially the series with the eggs, the apple and the naked bodies; they can be seen in private houses, in the best bars, restaurants and clubs all over the world.

In 1985, Carlos was also designing calico for cloth for the Ibiza fashions week "Semana de la Moda Ad-lib".

He has done the painting and the decoration of several bars and restaurants, the last one in 1999 "Ristorante il Vaticano" by "Café del Mar" in Sant Antoni. It is worthwhile visiting just to see his splendid murals.

In the later years, Carlos has become a painting professor as well. In the winter months he gives drawing and painting classes to several art pupils. He also has done commercial art in publicity works etc. So, as we can see, Carlos Genicio is a real complete artist, and a very busy man.

His curriculum in painting exhibitions on the Island is not very big at all, basically because he was not very interested in doing so, he never really had the time for it, it was difficult for him to paint and keep enough paintings for the galleries, his paintings always sell well and for a good price, but he was earning far more money by doing his portraits (eight to twelve a night) his posters, decoration and publicity work. Even so, his paintings have been in several collective exhibitions, in the best galleries and museums, such as "Galería Alhadros" "Super Mercado del Arte" "M.A.C" (Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Eivissa) "Galería Van der Voort" etc.

In May 2000, Carlos inaugurated with an individual exhibition, the new art gallery "Paradis Terrenal" on the top floor of the same Disco-Club, the exhibition of his oil-paintings of a hyper-realism style, was there again a big success, and only three paintings out of more then thirty were not sold.

After this exhibition, Carlos said that he wants to find the time to do more oil painting, so he can have a new exhibition at least every two years.

Carlos is a perfectionist. Anything he does has got to be an improvement every day. It doesn't matter if it is art, giving classes to the pupils, looking after his family or in his hobbies, for instance rod fishing.  He started to fish on the Island when he didn't know anything about our Mediterranean Sea and the fish in it, which he soon found were very different from the Cantabric Sea, (the Bay of Biscay).  He didn't know either our fishing techniques or where to fish the different types of fish and had to learn it all, but it didn't take him long.  He became a member of the "Club de Pesca Portmany" (the rod fishing local club). Just a few years after, Carlos won the club competition and also the Island championship and since then he has been the Island rod fishing champion for six years, two years more then any other of the old champions of any other club of the Islands.

Carlos was married in the middle 1980s to Olga, his charming wife. They have a thirteen-year-old daughter, Africa, and an eight-year-old son, Carlos Jr.

Carlos Díaz Genicio in his Studio

















All Pictures Courtesy of Carlos Díaz Genicio

If you should require information on purchasing the work from Carlos Díaz Genicio then please don’t hesitate to contact this office at your own convenience.

José P Ribas

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