About the artist
Antonio García Calvente (known under his signature artistic Totom) is a painter and artist Spanish born 1957 in Madrid and died in 2015. His artistic work revolves around development and inner growth, and throughout his life follows a creative path that leads him towards a unique form of symbolic expressionism.
His artistic training was developing in various fields of both formal and non-formal education or self-taught.
In his youth he attended the School of Applied Arts and Artistic Trades in Madrid, training with Maestro Enrique Gil Guerra and developing in various artistic techniques and specializing in drawing .
He began his professional activity at the age of 17 and already in the beginning he received awards and mentions for his work.
The first works that we have evidence of are around his 15 years of age and from here until the end of the 80s his works are clearly marked by his emotional experience. They are mostly oil paintings , watercolors or sketches . Many portraits and self-portraits with marked contemporary realism . Throughout these years he has also specialized in creating enamels with traditional techniques and his own techniques.
At the end of the 70s , with more than two hundred works sold, he gave a turn to his work, beginning to sign as “Totom”.
During the 80s he continued his creative process, evolving naturally towards a colorful impressionism marked by realistic forms . At this time his pictorial technique was established in oil works , blending colors with spatulas and juxtaposing the different shades , colors and shapes in a search to achieve harmony within the realism of the model.
In 1987 , having already been artistically recognized with the First Prize in the Sestao Painting Contest , in the province of Vizcaya , he decided to move to Talavera de la Reina ( Toledo ), known for its ceramic tradition . He began to develop in the Art of Ceramics with Master Felipe Espínola from the “Ruiz de Luna” School, working likewise, in different Alfares: Artesanía Talaverana, Froilán, Mancebo. A task that will provide you with ease, freedom of expression and capacity for development in your work. He begins in techniques of the Contemporary Ceramic Mural and begins to make Calcographic Engravings with the MasterJuan Carlos Jiménez Moreno , professor at the University of Fine Arts in Madrid.
Parallel to his artistic work, he began an inner search that led him to study Taoist philosophy , and thus he trained in Chi Kung for years. At the same time, he studied Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture at the Neijing school with Master Jose Luis Padilla, completing his complete training in 1992. During this time he also began a personal study of alchemy and the nature of the human psyche, a deep study that he will develop at throughout his life from the work of Carl Gustav Jung .
This personal work introduced him to a universal symbolism, which, through simple language, helped to connect with the deepest part of being. A more intimate language, not so technical, that gave him ease and freedom.
From this moment on, his work arises from deep meditation and an encounter with being. A symbolic and intimate art that leads him to try to represent a path towards emptiness and consciousness.
In these years and until 1995, landscapes and still lifes predominate in his oil paintings, each time with a more impressionistic touch, preserving the original model in detail and marking a harmony in light and color.
Since 1995, Totom continues his artistic journey in Madrid, his hometown, and a turn is quickly generated in the search for new artistic concepts, beginning to make murals, interior decorations, restoration of antique furniture, architectural studies, engravings and ceramics with more personal techniques.
He created the “Totom Art Workshop”, developing an original work of painting , sculpture , watercolor , engraving , ceramics and decorations in Vizcaya , Talavera de la Reina , Palma de Mallorca and Madrid and making orders to all of Spain, China , USA , Greece , Italy , England , Australia , etc. Working simultaneously as a teacher of creative painting and drawing.
During these years he produced extensive work on movement, the human body and the female figure in both drawings and paintings. He actively participates in the Natural and Movement Model Anatomy Workshops of the Círculo de Bellas Artes de Madrid developing the work in watercolor and ink.
Simultaneously, with his own style that seeks to express the feeling, forgetting the precision in the form and not in the context, he progresses little by little towards the expression of the symbolic and it is in 1998 when the painter almost definitely abandons the external model in order to to be able to express with more force the internal and unconscious experience of the human being, addressing a totally expressionist artistic style .
From here, and during the following years, his personal process and the study of the human mind, dreams and the inner path, lead him to an artistic work where he tries to address the different aspects of the human psyche, and especially of the unconscious, performing an increasingly symbolic work. We will observe in his works the meditative experience of emptiness and the Universe contemplated from the superconscious and the consciousness of emptiness.
It is in 2008 when he is diagnosed with colon cancer that will end his life a few years later. From here on, the artist’s creative process becomes simpler and more elegant, seeking, perhaps in a hurry, a clear way to synthesize Taoist philosophy in ceramics, sculptures and paintings.
In 2015 , Antonio García Calvente died in Madrid accompanied by his family, drawing a final sketch where he tried to capture a new way of representing the flower of life .
Most important awards, mentions, galleries and works
Vizcaya (1980 – 1987)
During this decade
- Receives the First Prize for Painting “1st Sestao Town Hall Contest” ( Vizcaya )
- He is selected in Ertivil by making a traveling exhibition of the Basque Government.
Talavera de la Reina (1987 – 1995)
- During his time in Talavera de la Reina, he was selected for the Enrique Ginestal National Painting Prize and carried out works in different Alfares: Artesanía Talaverana, Froilán, Mancebo and others and exhibited in the “La Sastrería” Art Room in Talavera de la Reina.
- In his years in Talavera de la Reina, his work stands out in Talavera Crafts “Ruiz de Luna School” with traditional ceramic art decorations under cover and ceramic murals: renaissance, monterias, heraldry, imaginations, portraits, landscapes and signage. He also works in Ceramics Mancebo with ceramic murals: landscapes, still lifes, etc. And he participates in various private exhibitions of oil paintings, engravings and ceramics.
Madrid (1995 – 2015)
- During his years in Madrid he was selected in the first place in the Selection of Painters of the Círculo de Bellas Artes, exhibiting at the “Sala Paradis” in Madrid; He is recognized in the Conde de Barajas painters ‘collective in Ciudad del Arte, the Plaza Mayor painters’ collective, and Morgan’s workshops in Madrid. He is selected to exhibit in the CC Casino de la Reina and Puerta de Toledo, in the Art Workshop 17, in the Art Fairs “Faim”, “FEDIPICA”, “Las Rozas”, participates in the exhibition SOS RACISMO 2007 and in the Progreso y Cultura Foundation 2008
- Exhibits at Blueleaf Gallery (Dublin- Ireland ), Bellabruta Gallery (Dublin- Ireland )
- Exhibits at the Nazario Recinos Contemporary Museum of Guatemala
- He made the decorations for “El Claustro” in Madrid, including murals, trompe l’oeil and the decoration of antique furniture.
- He designs and develops the decoration of the karaoke “Caroni” in Madrid with the decoration on a ceiling, the direction of the insulation and the carpentry base and the decoration and development of the pictorial mural.
- Design and decorate the flamenco tablao “Dudua” in Madrid, recreating an Andalusian Patio with views, arches, windows, screen, ceramic plinth, entrance patio, fountains, ceramic mural, renaissance for signs, chairs decorated in the Andalusian style.
- He carried out the integral project of the façade and the development of the same Berber style in rustic exposed brick with a half-foot wall and the Mudejar- style decoration of the “Kebac King” restaurant in Madrid.
- Make the decoration of the facades of the interior patio with children’s style for installation of a park of the mural “Chico” in Madrid
- Develops the decorative murals for “Mundo-mascot” in Madrid
- Make the decorative murals for the animal exhibition at the ” Parque de las Naciones “
- He made scenography and decoration for the play El Deleitoso in “Talleres Morgan” directed by Guillermo A. del Real, together with exhibitions and engravings.
- He facilitates courses in engraving and stamping, ceramic and plastic arts workshop at the IES “Las Canteras” in Madrid.
- Make the murals of still life and landscape decoration “Manuel Ruiz @ Marta Garcia”
- Make the decorative ceiling mural of “Sky at Sunset” in a private home.
- He exhibits individually at the “Malone” Art Gallery (Madrid), Artépolis multicultural hall (Madrid), “El Torito” Cultural Center (Madrid), “Eduardo Chillida” Cultural Center (Madrid), “Dopazo” Art Gallery ( Madrid), Gabana Restaurant (Madrid), Fonda “La Lechuga” (Madrid), Burgos Table (Madrid), Progreso y Cultura Foundation (2007 Madrid).