Born in Spain and currently based in London, Carlos is renowned for his dynamic black and white continuous line drawings bringing to life complex narratives and symbolic references.
While being a figurative artist, Carlos identifies the roots of his practice in abstract art and the psychological response that it provokes in the viewer. Striving to create images that can be interpreted and read in continually different ways, by different people, Carlos considers his work as a reinterpretation of inkblots as well as figure ground drawing. His compositions encourage the viewer to find the details within the intricacy of their lines; the connected and intertwined characters and objects, which the beholder’s imagination can identify and bring to the surface, are based on their own experiences and outlook of reality. This fundamental aspect of Carlos’ aesthetic allows him to express and encourage freedom of thought through his body of work.
A unique component that we also find within Carlos’ practice is the ability to incorporate personal scenes from his own family life or snapshots of people’s daily interactions within the bigger picture in paintings and murals. These additions act almost as a secret artist’s signature which Carlos can recognise and reconnect with lived experience, but that can mean something different, or even go unnoticed, to the external viewer – you may even find the artist himself depicted in The Pollination!
As an artist, Carlos has always carried out his drawing and painting whilst surrounded by people. His practice is rooted in and inspired by collaboration and communication, allowing the making process to
become part of the artwork itself.
Carlos’ trademark continuous line scenes are a fundamental aspect of his practice. Not purely an aesthetic and visual choice, his line work allows the artist to draw in a spontaneous and authentic way, without pauses to ponder and edit the image; which becomes an expressive and immediate translation of ideas and snapshots of life. The artist describes this process as the intent of capturing time in a visual form. Carlos’ background combines formal training as an architect in Alicante (Spain), Ljubljana (Slovenia) and Shanghai (China), as well as a long period of time spent self-training and experimenting as a life artist drawing passers-by, friends and tourists in streets, cafes and squares of cities across the world. These seemingly opposed styles of working; the formal and the informal are in fact complementary pathways that have helped shape Carlos’ practice and style. The black and white or monochromatic palettes speak to the heritage of his architectural studies focusing on simple line drawing in pen and ink on paper. This aesthetic
choice is also a reflection of his time as a portrait artist and the practical need for a set of simple materials
allowing the artist to create a finished piece in a short period of time. The artist’s diverse background is also reflected in his ability to recreate sketches on a large scale, working energetically and on site whilst interpreting briefs and, as Carlos himself puts it: ‘drawing from a concept and with the purpose to build something, as an architect does’.
For Brookfield Properties, Carlos has created a mural based on a unique concept created through a truly collaborative process between the artist, Brookfield Properties and ARTIQ’s curatorial team.The portrayed scenes are inspired by one of Carlos’ smaller scale paintings, showcasing a gathering of architects and designers discussing regeneration as the next step of sustainability. The artist has recreated the symbolism, playfulness and dynamism of this piece, which was referred to as the primary inspiration, into this large-scale mural.
The design incorporates natural elements which become an integral part of the composition and actions taking place: human figures and the natural world are all physically connected alongside the objects depicted within the scene. The pillars at the base of the murals represent a sense of community, stability and care for the environment. References, imagery and symbols from Brookfield’s most visionary projects such as the transformation of residual oils into fuels and the regeneration of eco systems after intervening within them are reinterpreted and reconnected in his composition.
Each detail of The Pollination is designed to resonate with those working in the CityPoint building and interacting with the local surroundings. You will see in Figure 3 references to local architecture; Guildhall and St Alphage; fish representing Hydroelectric development endorsed by Brookfield Properties; even olives representing the trees’ repurposing for biofuels.
The fearless dragon is a defining feature of the work, rising up in the far right of the mural in all its majesty. Carlos has taken the symbol of the dragon from the City of London’s coat of arms. The coat of arms bears two of these mythical beasts, referencing the legend of Saint George who slayed a dragon intent on harming humans as sacrifices. More broadly, the symbol of the dragon conjures notions of power, bravery and fantasy. Dragons are traditionally the guardians of knowledge and territory. Here, the dragon symbolically guards the knowledge of those in its surrounding territory. This includes the mural’s illustrated figures in the act of sharing knowledge through verbal communication, as well as the real-life individuals working and living in the City.