WILLIAM FULLJAMES: An Ibiza Icon
Texto: Cat Weisweiller
IbiCASA were delighted to visit the home and studio of William Fulljames – a much acclaimed artist and 40 year resident of Ibiza.
Born in Portsmouth, in 1939, Bill moved with his family to the Isle of Wight when WWII broke out. He later learned that, despite his family’s best efforts to find safer plains, he was once catapulted through a ground floor window by the impact of a bomb dropping in the grounds of the family business: The Spithead Hotel. Thankfully, Bill was left unscathed.
Bill lived on to enjoy drawing throughout his childhood. At 17, he embarked on a degree in design, sculpture and engraving at Portsmouth College of Art and later obtained an art teacher’s diploma at Swansea College of Art. Bill considers Sir Henry Moore, a British sculptor of high standing, amongst one of his greatest early influences.
After college, Bill spent many happy years travelling across Europe with his ex-wife, Penny, and his 1st child, Pepita. For over a decade, they moved around Alicante, Valencia, Greece and Turkey, doubling their mobile home up as a touring art gallery: “Living a hippy life, but not as hippies.” In 1971, they came to settle in Ibiza. Bill’s only previous link to Ibiza had been as a teenager on a school trip, in 1955. He’d stayed in San Antonio, which, then a quaint fishing village, “only had deep sea diving, roller-skating and drinking hierbas on offer!”
Once living full-time in Ibiza, and with a 2nd daughter, Micha, in toe, Bill continued with his busy routine of creating and selling his artwork. It is now, with access to a fixed workshop, that his focus could move away from painting and towards his main passions: Wood engraving and sculpture, for which he is best known today. He has exhibited in all the main galleries across the mainland and on Ibiza, including Es Moli, which had a permanent exhibition of his work. Wood engraving being such a time-consuming and specialised art form, Bill is still the only established wood engraver on the island. He exhibits regularly at the “Society of Wood Engravers” in England, of which he is a member, and has been called upon to illustrate countless books. His creative endeavours were, for a long time, interspersed with part-time art teaching at Felicity’s School, The International School and, later, Morna Valley School.
Present day, Bill and his dog, Lily, remain ensconced in the house and workshop that he lovingly constructed between 1982 and 1984. Perched at the top of a hill near Santa Gertrudis and boasting stunning views of both sunrise and sunset, it is understandable that Bill is in no rush to leave it, even 27 years on. He can still be found sipping Gin and Tonic as he pays daily homage to the enchanting sunset views offered from his sheltered porch.
His house, studio and garden are bursting with his artwork: Sculptures, reliefs, life drawings and prints from extraordinarily intricate wood engravings. Never duplicated by machine, each and every one is a limited edition. In his workshop, there is always a new sculpture on the go, or wood engraving underway. He works from life models and, still to this day, most loves recreating the human form or local subject matter. On the rare occasion Bill is not embroiled in his art, he can be found strumming away on a double bass. Something he claims not to be very good at, although many beg to differ.
In true Ibiza spirit, Bill likes to keep his prices low and the purchasing experience personalised. There is nothing he likes more than a potential client’s visit to his home studio for a quiet browse, or making house calls to plan a privately commissioned work. Stamped with the familiar ‘WF’ mark, his impressive handiwork can be found the island over. Surprisingly, we can own a William Fulljames for as little as €12, up to €3000 for his largest sculpted piece.
Undoubtedly the most satisfying way to make an art purchase is by way of an intimate visit to an artist’s creative hub. What could be better than privileged access to the place where the piece was actually conceived and created? Perhaps the most striking thing about this memorable trip to Bill’s house was, considering his significant expertise, his striking humility. This being a common trademark of many of the truest celebrated artists remaining on Ibiza, of which Bill is undoubtedly one.
To arrange a visit:
Tel. (+34) 971 324 307 / Mob. (+34) 617 833 567