In Spain, the genres of pin-up art and fantasy-erotica find their greatest expression in the work of Carlos Diez.
Born in 1966 in Madrid, Spain, Carlos Diez had several early influences that shaped his artistic vision. He was always interested in science fiction films and television series. He claims to have recorded episodes of Space 1999 on audio tape and replayed them countless times. Movies provided great imaginative stimulation and Diez began drawing at a very young age, partly as a way to prolong the pleasure of the movies he saw.
Some time after seeing Star Wars, Diez had an important realization. He found that it was much more exciting to draw the likes of Princess Leia than it was to draw the masculine heroes of the movies he adored. The pin-up artist was born. As Carlos himself described it: “All the paper that went through my hands started to get filled with curves and more curves, trying to recreate the image of those beautiful women…” The artists’ fate appeared to be sealed when he found a book of Alberto Vargas illustrations and realized that what he was trying to accomplish in his drawings had precedent, and a name: “pin-up.”
Although he attended the University of Fine Arts and School of Applied Arts for one year, Diez is largely self-taught. Art school didn’t meet his expectations and so he embarked on his career without academic qualifications or much formal training. His imagination and skill with the airbrush led him into early work for record labels and advertising agencies. But again, the rebel spirit was restless and longed to focus on works of fantasy and erotica.
Opportunity eventually came knocking, and Diez’s work came to appear on poster and covers for a great variety of publications. These include magazines such as Heavy Metal, Playboy, Penthouse, and GQ, as well as comic books including Kiss Comics, El Vibora, Eros Comic, Gigamesh, and Dolmen. The artist has thus achieved very broad exposure and his erotic images have garnered popularity both in his native Spain as well as in North America.
Carlos Diez work has become even more various, and he has contributed to TV and radio as well as to the music industry. His work with Locomotive Music, a major Spanish label, has included covers for heavy metal bands such as Transilvania 666, Tribute to Iron Maiden, Easy Rider, Tierra Santa, Azrael and Lujuria.
The Internet has helped the artist achieve even broader recognition. He launched his official website in 2002 and quickly began receiving requests and praise from around the world. One of the most important connections he made was with Robert Bane, the renowned collector of erotic art and supporter of erotic artists. Bane asked for some of the artist’s original work for an exhibition at the Tamara Bane Gallery in Los Angeles. Diez’s subsequent trip to California also provided an opportunity to meat Kevin Eastmen and begin his work with Heavy Metal magazine.
The work of Carlos Diez includes traditional pin-up, for which he relies on an international coterie of models (he receives many requests), as well as unique combinations of fantasy and erotica. The artist’s development of this combination resulted primarily from the great demand for such work, which led him to study the art of Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo and Alfonso Azpiri. He credits these masters with teaching about the use of color. From Luis Royo, whom he calls the “great master of erotic art,” he has learned to appreciate detail. Diez also mentions many others as formative influences, including Sorayama, Geiger, and de Berardinis.
Some of the finest erotic images can be found in the book The Art of Carlos Diez: Objects of Desire. The artist himself took great pains arranging each page and ensuring that each detail advanced his artistic vision. This is a full color 136-page collection of paintings and drawings that has been called a “delightful amalgam of erotic daydreams.” It provides many excellent examples of the artist’s work.
Carlos Diez continues to work in Spain. Besides producing paintings, illustrations and sketches in the studio, he is involved in art education. He has just celebrated the 10th anniversary of his institute “C10 Formación Creativa Gráfica y Digital.” Located in Madrid, the institute offers courses in a wide range of visual arts, including comic book art, manga, illustration, drawing, airbrushing, graphic design, and digital photography. His involvement in education is rather ironic, considering that he was largely self-taught, but he certainly has much to give back to the world of art.
- work has appeared in major magazines including Heavy Metal, Playboy, Penthouse and GQ
- comic book work includes illustrations for Kiss Comics, El Vibora, Eros Comic, Gigamesh, and Dolmen
- has designed CD covers for a great variety of heavy metal bands with Locomotive Music
- work has been shown in the Tamara Bane Gallery in Los Angeles, California
- published The Art of Carlos Diez: Objects of Desire
- founded his own school dedicated to the visual arts, C10 Formación Creativa Gráfica y Digital