Victor Spinelli’s Artistic ‘Evolution Revolution’

Posted on May 15, 2018

Words: Olivia Ebeling

Images: La Skimal

Like a colourful chameleon, photographer-turned-artist Victor Spinelli has undergone some incredible transformations in his career. From arriving on Ibiza with plans to open a hot air balloon bungee jumping business before being practically recruited off the street to become the legendary Manumission’s chief photographer, channelling his love of nature into paintings to turning his iconic photographic work into 3D sculptures, the energetic American has explored his creative potential to its fullest extent – and is still far from resting on his laurels.

This year, Victor is working on one of his most ambitious projects yet: a 24-day residency at Pikes Ibiza, which invites 24 artists across all mediums and from all over the globe to come together and explore where their creative force may take them. At the end of the residency, each participant will have the opportunity to exhibit their work and sell it should they so desire – and we have a feeling some of the pieces will find their way onto walls of the iconic hotel, to sit alongside Victor’s own creations that many will recognise as the eye-catching casino chips in Freddie’s Suite. We caught up with Victor at his workshop amidst the flowering fields of Ibiza to find out more about what makes this fascinating artist and popular face from the island tick…



ayanna by la skimal

What inspired the idea of creating a residency in Ibiza?
I want the residency to be like a think tank, I want to create something big, like a creative symbiosis. Like a beautiful flower growing out of these connections. The thought came to my mind a few years ago and Pikes is the perfect place for it, so I approached Andy And Dawn about taking it over for a whole month at the end of the season and they loved the idea. The fact that the retreat is for free, with me raising the funds, is generating a lot of traction from all over the world and I’m getting applications from artists every day, even from as far away as Russia or Japan. Any medium is welcome; I’ll take filmmakers, photographers or visual painters, sound engineers, writers or poets.

Can you tell us more about the programme?
There are going to be daily brainstorming sessions and symposiums every night. We are going to put a nine-metre dome on the Pikes tennis court, which is going to serve as an additional art space, and we are emptying out Freddie’s to put in easels etcetera – and of course people can work outside. And we’re going to keep one room open for visiting art professionals like museum curators and gallery owners, who will come and mingle with the artists and hold talks, switching every three to four days so overall we’re looking at up to 10 different people over the course of the month. In the evenings, we will be showing avant-garde art films in the dome. It will be a very interactive experience.


ayanna by la skimal

What does Pikes mean to you?
I think it’s a wonderful, magical place. It’s so quirky, inventive and creative, and the team has done a wonderful job in building something really fun on the island that’s very authentic at the same time. It was a natural choice for my retreat.

Diver-Up is one of your most iconic pieces and you’re still creating new versions. What was the inspiration behind it?
She’s got legs, for sure. The original photograph was taken in 2005 in Ibiza and it became my most popular image. I wanted to mix an industrial object with the female body, like Mother Earth mixed with something manmade, and she is trying to free herself from this piece of machinery. One of my next projects will be to turn the sculpture into tiny bluetooth speakers.



How long have you been in Ibiza?
I first came to Ibiza for a month in the year 2000, and decided to come back a year later. My original plan was to set up a hot air balloon bungee jumping business, but it didn’t work out. I actually went to back to the States for a while and when I returned I brought back my portfolio, and then I ran into Mike from Manumission and he asked me to shoot for him… That was on a Friday, and I started the following Monday.

You have undergone quite the transformation, from photographer to painter and sculptor…
I was always known as this one type of artist – mostly for my photographic work for Manumission – but over the last seven years I started to branch off. I’m actually enjoying painting more than shooting now, to be honest. It’s an evolution and a revolution!


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A lot of your work seems inspired by nature and its struggle with mankind. Why does this subject touch you so much?
My background was always in Boy Scouting and I’m an Eagle Scout [the highest rank attainable], so there is the aspect of loving nature, but there a lot of things going on in the world right now where people are being greedy and letting selfish consumerism taking over their lives. You can see this also reflected in my Beast of Burden series, which is about how we have lost our conscious connection with farm animals, and we are riding on their backs because we are using them. It’s a funny series but with a serious message. I’m a hippy at heart…

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