Artist Focus: Carlos Cano

Three months ago I published a post on my blog featuring our own Carlos Cano. I was struggling with some personal issues and though the article was on my blog, it was supposed to be published through as well. Unfortunately, I let him down and didn’t get it done.  Here is the Artist Focus article I should have published on Carlos Cano.  Carlos, let me apologize to you for the wait. This is a great post and you deserve the attention from this huge audience! Carlos’ story is a fascinating tale of artistic progression. Personally, I am a big fan of the first picture below! Let’s get to know Carlos Cano!

“Hi, I’m Carlos Cano, and live in Madrid, Spain. Since I was young I liked art in general, and drawing in particular. My initial attempts were drawings with ballpoint pen, first only in black and white, and little by little I introduced some color. I have to say that I have always been a simple amateur, I have never received any kind of art (except zentangle, I will get to that). My drawings were always abstract, in somewhat twisted ways, so much so that some friend always said that what I drew was “guts.” Sometimes I relied on something from my surroundings, but I always experimented with it: I was looking for shapes to attract me.

One of the things I always tried to achieve was color gradients, which took me for hours with the ballpoint pen. I also started to test gradients with stippling, but with this technique I did less drawings
I have always enjoyed experimenting with shapes and techniques, and always tried to go to all the art exhibitions that I have been able to. After each exhibition, when I got home, I came back loaded with inspiration, and I turned in blocks of drawing trying to do something similar to what I had seen (which I never got, but that really amused me).

Let me show you some of my old drawings, with ball point pens, and one stippled:



In 1988 I left up drawing and began to try many other unfinished activities (including learning Japanese, or play rock guitar)
Three years ago, I took again a pen thinking on try some idea. In this case I used fountain pens, also drawing with dots. I did four drawings. The next is the one I prefer:



But it’s not good idea stippling with fountain pens: the ink always dries, and it changes color. And the nibs, well, they oxidize and also change the ink color.
Then, I discovered zentangle, and before I learned the technique, I made the next attempt, also with stippling and fountain pens:

Since 2005 I have been attending Zentangle classes with María Pérez-Tovar, and I have always tried to experiment with the different tangles, modifying them and trying different ways to use them. For example, these are some personal versions of three tangles. Tri-Bee, Inapod, Niuroda:

I’ve used also some sense of humor in my drawings (the first is a version of the tangle Drawings, the second was for Halloween) :

Sometimes I’ve mixed different media in a drawing, as in this hand I’ve used micron, alcohol markers, color pencils and stippling:


Recently I have recovered the desire to experiment with other techniques, and I have redrawn with colored ballpoint pens. This has been my first attempt for more than 30 years.

In this drawing I’ve used Copic markers as color background, and ballpoint pens:

One technique I discovered recently is that of shaving cream. With it you get backgrounds of random colors very interesting. I use it with liquid watercolor, although you can also use food coloring, even acrylic paint. My way of drawing on these backgrounds is not very orthodox: I try to draw shapes following the colors of the background and then modifying and adding figures as they occur to me. I must say that my way of drawing is formed by 90% of improvisation, and some previous idea that I quickly modify as I discover possibilities in what is coming out.
The following sequence shows more or less of what I’m talking about:

The next example correspond to a version of StaubKorn’s Pico:

With patience and imagination, you can transform any background in what you want. For example, I transformed a partial blue tile in a “tree of life”:

I’m still in awe of Carlos’ techniques both old and new! I’m going to try the shaving cream trick for sure! I’m so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to get to know these artists from across the world! You are a fascinating bunch and I cant wait to show you who is next!


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