Icons of Ibiza
By Carmen Loren Ceballos
Ibiza is a unique place that brings together one of the most cosmopolitan scenes in the world... a multicultural ambience that can be felt in its streets and markets where unique people who are iconic to this island live and work. This is the spirit that you can see reflected in the portraits of the ‘Ibiza Icons’ collection by Bulgarian artist Vivo Gal Grabby (known to many as ‘Ivo’). Ivo is quite an iconic character himself, and even after just sharing a coffee with him one feels more inspired and joyful. He arrived on Ibiza ten years ago and, as he explains, rediscovered himself here. For many years he lived in different places offering art exhibitions, but when he arrived on the island he stopped his usual painting and took up bodyArt (body painting). He did this because he needed work that was more commercial to help support his decision to start a family. Luckily his wife encouraged him to start painting again, and that is how this exhibition of 36 paintings came to be. The total collection has 63 paintings, and it has reached as far as the Parallax Art Fair in London.
The inspiration for this collection of portraits happened very naturally. Ivo began in 2014 by painting one of the biggest icons on the island: Joan Marí, the creator of Las Dalias. This painting was shown in the Palacio de Congresos and it was seen by the owner of the Punta Arabí Hippie Market. He was very surprised, as he did not know that Ivo was so talented. That is when the idea of creating a collection was born, and from then on the artist worked for a year preparing the first 18 pieces. About this he told us, “I am often surrounded by interesting folks and I decided to paint people who have done something important on the island: musicians, politicians, business people, artists...” Amongst the interesting people whose portraits he has painted are: the founder of Casita Verde, Chris Dews; the mayor of Santa Eulalia, Vicent Marí; the director of Digital Grafic, David Moss; the musician and founder of the San Juan market, Saigo Dicenta; the Santa Eulalia sports councillor, Salvador Losa; percussionist Francisco Mula; the owner and creator of Croissant Show, André Quidu; the founder of the Benirràs drumming sessions, Salvatore Murgia, as well as Yaron Marco, one of the first Ibiza hippy musicians. Ivo explains that, “I wanted to paint people who have created something for the wellbeing of others, and provided something interesting to Ibiza”.
The portraits are oil on canvas, and they have fascinating colours that are even a bit psychedelic. The artist spends three to four weeks working on each one. Gal Grabby explained that: “A landscape I can paint in a few hours, but an oil portrait takes longer. Notice how each brush stroke is comprised of a colour that I need to find and mix.” When asked about how and why he chooses the ranges of colour for each painting, he says that he feels the colours within his heart... he flows... he does nothing but connect with the vibration of the person... and then just paints. His spiritual view on life is evident in this method, and it is revealed in his creations. He explains that art is a way of life, and when someone knows how to live correctly then good art naturally arises. Ivo’s first principle for good living is gratitude, and he states: “When you feel grateful you feel joyful, and there is light in your eyes. You are filled with trust and love, and so abundance flows.” •