The Balearics have long attracted the artistically inclined, and the island of Ibiza is certainly no exception. But there’s also a surprising amount of homegrown creative talent found on the island, from sculptors and painters to multimedia artists. Here are some of the top scene shifters and shapers amongst Ibiza’s contemporary artists from the 1970s to the present day.
Irene de Andres is a multimedia artist, born in 1986 in Ibiza. She graduated in Fine Arts at Universidad Complutense in Madrid in 2009. She has regularly made the island the centre of her work, most prominently in her exhibition ‘Donde nada ocurre’ (Where Nothing Happens) which shows the now defunct nightclubs that were once the epicentres of Ibiza’s clubbing scene. She has more recently explored the relations between tourism and colonisation and our perpetual search for ‘paradise’. Her work has taken her further afield where she has been a resident artist in Bogota, as well as in Puerto Rico.
Hormigo is an Ibizan sculptor working in both stone and more recently wood. For anyone who has been to San Antonio, they will be familiar with the Shouting Man sculpture which has been there since 1977. Its real name is ‘Es Verro’, meaning The Brave One and is an ode to the rural life of the island, back when they used to use a familiar call sign to warn the neighbouring farms that pirates or other similar dangers were on their way. He also came up with the concept for The Egg sculpture in San Antonio. It’s a reference to Christopher Columbus who they believe to be from Ibiza (he is in fact from Genoa in Italy) and at the centre of the sculpture is a model of his ship the Maria, all pointing to the Americas in the West.
Born in 1906, he had his first contact with the arts aged 11, and by 21 hosted his first exhibition in the Port of Eivissa. Portmany was a regular sight around the island, and was dedicated, creating endless drawings and paintings of life on the island. He went on to receive many awards during his long career, participating in exhibitions in Ibiza, the Balearics and all over Spain before his death in 1974.
Son of a barbershop owner and a proprietor of a bodega in Dalt Vila in Ibiza Town, from an early age, Calbet was an admirer of Portmany, who was a distant cousin of his. Calbet joined the family hairdressing business until he decided that he wanted to be an artist and went on to study art in Ibiza, and furthered his studies in the Escola de Bellas Artes in Valencia. He was a timid character, and would rarely leave the island. However he was awarded a few scholarships which allowed him to travel around Europe to Paris and Hamburg. His career was at its highest during the 80s when his paintings would be bought before even being exhibited. He was in Japan setting up an exhibition there when he fell ill and died aged 51. There are islanders who still remember him and his identifiable style of melancholic blue.
Born in San Antonio in 1917, Vicente showed a growing talent for art which took him on to study at the Escuela Superior de Bellas Artes San Jorge in Barcelona before returning to Ibiza as an art teacher. His works concentrate on Ibiza: the purity of the white-washed buildings, the tranquility found in the shadows, in the quiet streets on a hot day, the bluest of skies. The colours of the island he said are unique, they evoke a serenity that you could only feel in Ibiza. He completed over 100 exhibitions, and sold half of all his paintings in Ibiza, the rest selling all over the world. He worked long into retirement, believing that his work portraying the beauty of Ibiza was never over.
Born in Madrid but who has now settled in Ibiza and works out of a studio near San Jordi, Luis Gallego is a modern-day sculptor. He makes use of the resources around him by using recycled materials for his fun and quirky sculptures. Inspired by his childhood love of making characters out of Plasticine and his subsequent continuous desire to create things with his hands, after many years of trying his hand at various jobs, he decided to focus on wood sculpting. He started out making small pieces such as insects, which eventually gave way to larger animals of all sizes. He now makes commissions for people and places all over the world.
Born into an Ibicenco jeweller family, Toni Pomar was already showing signs of creative individuality by producing his own designs for the family jewellery business. Whilst working there he also studied at Ibiza’s local art school and was lucky to have been taught by two well-known artists of the time: Tarres and Agudo Clara who influenced him heavily in his style. In the 1960s he, along with Vicent Calbet, Vicente Ferrer Guasch and Mari Ribas formed the artistic group known as Group Puget – a reference to painter Narcis Puget Vinas, who was considered to be the first painter to put Ibiza on the artistic world map. Pomar worked mainly in acrylic depicting local scenes, often nostalgic images of Ibiza. His distinctive use of brushstrokes, bold sweeping swashes of colour, highlight his own focus on technique over form. Something that he says takes a lot of dedication and persistence and which he feels is often missing from modern-day painting.