He lived in caves in gypsy neighborhoods, cavernous studios without much light except the light from his paintings.
One night in Brooklyn he invited me to remove my shoes and walk shut-eyed across a canvas laid out on the cement floor to feel the voluptuous thickness of pigment through the feet of my soul.
It was after his blue period of potatoes and stone walls, but before the architectural facades and drawings of fire.
He lived his vocation like a medieval monk, didn’t understand the big hurry of modern life.
A ten minute walk from his studio to the beach could take hours, stretched out by cafés and conversations, glasses of beer and the latest art journal.
He followed no schedule but the tides, worked for nobody but himself.
One painting was called, “The Bull Don’t Want” meaning he wasn’t going to fight in the ring but he liked to be surrounded by friends, and he was, everywhere he went.
Without trying, his charm cast a spell.
I could get so high on his talk of helicopters and basilicas, catamarans and omelets, described in an English fractured by a mind that always surprised me.
Sometimes he fell down and scraped the earth but always rose again, every time but the last.
“I’m sick,” he said on the phone, “I feel like shit.”
“Can we do anything for you, Carles?”
“Yes. Enjoy your life,” he said, so tired and distant, a star already gone, not fading but ripped out of the sky.
by Mick Stern, April 2004