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.
Carlos Vivar has stated "that in art we need to keep reinventing ourselves constantly and proposing new
paths to follow… not remaining comfortably idle in one place…we need to keep moving forward, just as
in life". His work is testimony to this as his themes and depiction of life and sceneries have evolved
providing a distinct set of styles over the years.
Carlos has had over 100 exhibitions in Asia, America and Europe, in galleries, foundations, museums of
art, embassies, universities, etc. He lives in Mexico City and has two children, source of inspiration for
some of his artwork. Although his studio is in Mexico City, he has begun to work to produce lithographic
art in a studio in Paris, which he visits almost every month since 2016. He is also a devout drummer, a
hobby he has held dear since early childhood. He also plays the piano and the guitar. He is the leader of
a music band with whom he has recorded a CD (Sony Label). Carlos Vivar has participated in charity
auctions to raise money for disadvantaged children in Mexico.