Tio Carlos

Carlos Salcedo Peré - artista y genio

I got a little bored of the design of the blog, so I’ve tinkered a little. Hopefully I haven’t broken anything. I’m also going to try to change what I post about, as I struggle to entertain myself, let alone anyone reading this, some days. The endless angst of an unpublished writer is hardly edifying stuff. And I’ve changed the background to remind me of what I aspire to be – an artist – and the reason why I want to write – to entertain, amuse, and one day hopefully, inspire.

The picture in the background is a black and white copy of a painting my uncle gave me in 1991. You can’t see all of it, but it’s a snake wrapped round a frame. I was going through a tough time at university, emotionally, physically and financially. He was living with my dad at the time, having finished one adventure and sqaubbling with my dad while he scrimped the money and energy together to embark on his next craziness (he was working as a forest ranger for half of the year, and artist-cum-cigarmaker for the other half).

He also gave me a tape of Polynesian music, and the two weeks I spent observing my dad and his brother squabbling furnish several anecdotes that feature in Tom’s Universe – both in Monk Quixote and the forthcoming Tamaduste.

The snake is actually fire red, the frame is a golden yellow, and the picture within the frame is an unpenetrable royal blue. Is it the sea? The mind? Is the snake benign, or evil? Is the frame saying something about life? Or is it simply a brightly coloured doodle to amuse a depressed nephew? It is without a doubt the most posession I treasure most. And that’s because as well as being beautiful, he wrote a little dedication, which I’ll translate from the Spanish:

To Iván with the hope that he finds an answer to his troubles, now and in the future – and balance, harmony and happiness.

Which is a lovely thing to receive – even more so in the winter of my 19th year. The Polynesian music, taped over an old C&W compilation, I was less enamoured of. Although he’d drawn a parody of Lucky Luke on the cover, so it was still pretty amazing. Sadly, I threw all my tapes away at the end of one house move too many in the middle of the last decade.

He’s an interesting and talented man, who should have made a lot more of his gifts, but like most of the Salcedo family, his duende got the better of him on many occasions – seeming to prefer a life of conflict, passion and isolation over conforming. He’d paint the most amazing things, on all sorts of surfaces – driftwood, cardboard boxes, rocks. His style ranged from fauvist to miro, usually with a strong political bent.

I haven’t spoken to him for years, but thanks to the internet I can see that he’s made some tentative steps online. Here’s a portfolio of some of his digital work (vastly inferior to his paintings):


Anyway, for me, this change is a signal of intent. More art, less internal noise. I hope you like the change.

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