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Artists of Ibiza

Artists on Ibiza

Gary W Cook

by José P Ribas



His murals are to be seen far and wide, from Windsor Castle to a top security prison in Australia.

Gary Wayne Cook, born in the UK in 1958, arrived in Eivissa at the end of the 1980s with a specific commissioned work to do.

It was a mural painting in Pike's Hotel, one of the best, famous and most pretty rural hotels on the Island, near Sant Antoni de Portmany (Freddy Mercury, Julio Iglesias, Tony Curtis and Monserrat Caballé are some of the guests that made this small hotel known all over the world).

He came by boat from Mallorca, where he was living for a while after travelling and working in many different countries; his murals grace the UK, Holland, Australia, Israel and Spain among other countries.

As Gary was living in Mallorca, he was not so impressed by the light or our sea. In fact, when I asked him what was the first impression the Island made on him, he confessed that what he remembered most was the fear he felt with the chaotic traffic when he first came on that summer afternoon driving a scooter, from Eivissa Town to Sant Antoni.

It was not until a few weeks later when one of Tony Pike's sons started showing him the little villages of the interior and the splendid beaches that Gary started slowly to discover the beauty of Eivissa. Since then, apart from some short trips, he has never left the Island again.

Gary is still recovering from a very serious accident he suffered just over two years ago. He lives with his lovely German wife, Brigitte, in a three-hundred-year-old "casa payesa", a nicely renovated "finca" in the interior of the island where they have to produce their own electric power and collect rainwater, a real Eden where the asphalt roads, electricity and telephone wires haven't yet reached.

As Gary is also a man of not too many words, instead of answering my questions he preferred to write his replies to me, and - as his English writing is better then mine - I have just copied it all, literally (sic) as it was, hoping that you wouldn't have to read the questions to understand his answers.

"I became a mural painter when I dropped out of college where I was studying business, so I have no formal "art education"...In fact, my art "A" level was the only exam which I failed at school, so the idea of going to an art school didn't enter my mind... I still remember the painting, which I did in the exam, they were quite good, in fact, I could have sold them subsequently now that I think about it!

I always say... "Art School"? You must be joking! You don't need any education to do what I do!

I use my "art" firstly to make a living, and secondly to express personal ideas which I may have.

My favourite style of painting is probably the "old master style" or more accurately the "Renaissance" style.

But style is just style! For me it's the idea expressed in a painting that counts, not how it's painted!

I am now working on sculptures, pieces that I compose from branches of trees that grow here in Ibiza, mainly around the house where I live.

These sculptural pieces are of course "home grown", so to speak, and I intend to "offer" them partly as a "homage" to the island. I hope in some small way to make my contribution to the culture of the island.

I have a solo exhibition of this work scheduled for July 2002, in the "Esglesia de l'Hospitalet in Dalt Vila, Eivissa, with the "Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Eivissa", which should run through to the end of August 2002".

A Selection of Exhibitions

1982 Solo - Cambridge Central Library

1985 Solo - Watford Central Library

Collective - Camden Arts Centre, London NW 3

1988 Joint, with Patrick Old, Gallery 202, London W 11

1990 Solo - The Studio, London SW 3

Solo - Galería del Artista, Eivissa

Collective - Galería "Es Mulí", Eivissa

1991 Solo - Frends, London WC 2

1992 Collective - Pyramid Art Gallery, Ku, Eivissa

Solo - The Gallery, London W 1

1995 Solo - Frends, London WC 2

Joint, with Lula Martins, Galería Nova, Eivissa

Collective - Libro Azul, Eivissa

Collective - Galería Van der Voort, Eivissa

1996 Collective - Museu d'Art Contemporani, d'Eivissa

1997 Collective - Smart Depot, London NW 1

1999 Solo - Libro Azul, Eivissa

2000 Collective - Libro Azul, Eivissa

Joint, with Simone Schander, Consell Insular, Feria d'Art

2001 Collective - Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Eivissa

Solo - Villa Mercedes, Sant Antoni, Eivissa

Exhibitions Already booked for this Year

2002 Solo - Scheduled for July, l'Eglesia de l'Hospitalet, (MAC) Museu d'Art Contemporani d'Eivissa

Solo - Bar Gallería Can Tixedó, Sant Antoni, Eivissa

Collective - "Los Artistas de los años sesenta" (MAC) Eivissa

A Selection of Commissioned Works

1983 Bank Leumi, Tel Aviv, Israel. Mural of 1,000 square metres on the exterior of the Dolphinarium

1984 Gout of Western Australia. Mural of 100 square metres in Perth maximum security prison with the participation of some of the inmates

1988 MTV Amsterdam. Mural of 500 square metres Exterior of the Culture Centre "The Milky Way"

1995 "Museu d'Art Contemporani" (MAC), Eivissa. Mural of 100 square metres in Eivissa penitentiary, with the participation of some of the inmates

1996 "G L C", London. Mural of 500 square metres of an "Intercity 125 Train", painted on both sides of the bridge, in Shepherd Bush Green

1997 Renovation of St. George's Hall, Windsor Castle (after the fire). The British Coat of Arms painted on a 6 square metre canvas

Pictures of His Work Courtesy of Gary Cook
The home of Gary Cook
Picture ? Gary Hardy (February 2002)
Gary Cook with two pieces of his new work
Pictures © Gary Hardy (February 2002)

José P Ribas