Carlos Vivar

Carlos Vivar was born in Mexico City in 1964. The son of a surgeon and a psychologist, and the
second of three siblings, he knew from an early age that he wanted to be a painter. His
schoolbooks and notebooks were testimony to that. Regardless of the subject they would
depict in pencil or fountain pen, an array of characters, places and imaginary animals. Later
in life he went onto study graphic design in Mexico City and then a master’s degree in graphic
art in Milan, Italy. During this time he also lived in England and Spain, places that would mark
and influence his work later on in his life. However, immediately after his studies concluded,
he worked as a graphic designer back in Mexico City, and a few years later set up his own
graphic design firm. His creativity turned this business enterprise into a successful venture,
drawing major international business accounts. The economic success of this phase in his
career was a keystone as it allowed him to abandon graphic design altogether, in spite of its
monetary benefits, and dedicate his creativity towards full time painting.
His first solo exhibition was held in Tehuacán, Puebla, in Mexico in 1994. Soon after, his work
began to gain popularity. His work began to be exhibited in New York (a yearly event at the
Waldorf Astoria Hotel) in the early 2000s which coincided with his focus to full time painting.
He confides that the painters with the biggest influence in his work are Rufino Tamayo and
other contemporary artists from the state of Oaxaca, who are known for their colourful work.
Another major artist who has inspired Vivar’s work and work ethic is Pablo Picasso. Vivar’s
paintings are characterized by their bi-dimensionality, lack of perspective, their bright red
hues, spectrum of blues, and most notably, their naïveté expressed in bicycles, toy horses,
harlequins, and all sorts of fruit and agave plants. Carlos is a self-taught painter, whose work
has evolved over the last 25 years, ranging from indigenous pre-Hispanic-inspired icons, rural
sceneries, Mexican revolutionaries themes, to European city landscapes mixed with
contrasting colours commonly used by the Mexican architect Barragán. His sculptures reflect a
continuation of his paintings, borrowing icons or details which are easily associated to his
graphic art. Vivar confesses that his colour-blindness, inherited from his maternal
grandfather, has been more a gift than a hindrance.