Why Ygartua art chronicles?
I never imagined that I would start writing a blog about my father even though I have always imagined showing the world his work. Writing doesn’t come as naturally to me as creating art. I suppose it isn’t that surprising after all, since I spent my entire childhood around a painter who would paint at least 8 or 9 hours every single day. That is my father, Paul Ygartua. My mother Joanne Ygartua, would spend all her waking hours figuring out how to promote my father’s work. So why am I doing this? Simply because I realised while looking at a few of my father’s published books on his work a few years ago, that these books talk about his genius and demonstrate to a certain extent how varied his work is but none of them talk about the actual man behind the work. The Story. And at the end of the day, it’s a person’s story we are curious about, not what other people think of him. As it turns out, this is not only his story though, it is also my mother’s story. I know that she is happy being the wife behind the scenes, but I feel the need to share her part in it as well. So it is not only the story of an artist but also a love story, my favourite kind.
I decided to start at the beginning. I may as well afterall since I’m here! Here it goes… I’m warning you, it’s not a short story!
The Story of Paul
My father was born in Bebington, England on June 16th 1945 to British mother, Dorothy Bell, and Basque father, Pablo Ygartua. His father or “abuelo”, as we used to call him, was given political amnesty by the British government during the Spanish Civil War. He jumped ship and met the love of his life during the Second World War. Even though those years after the war were difficult times, they were also filled with new hope for the world and their children’s future. They first lived with his aunt for a couple of years after the war and then with Mr. Percival, an Oxford professor, who had taken his father in as a refugee when he was only 17. It was when he turned six that they first moved into their own home.
First of his generation born into both the British and Basque sides of his family, Paul was surrounded by adoring aunts and uncles, who all nurtured his creative mind with the arts, the language and the culture of these two different countries. He loved challenging himself by climbing trees, rooftops, and just about anything else that could be climbed and this at the early age of four. My mother remembers Dorothy saying that at 9 months old, before he even started walking, he just got up one day and decided to run out the front door. He was even found climbing the local building’s scaffolding until his parents were warned to keep him at home. None of this comes as a surprise to anyone who knows my father. I can just imagine what a terror he was as a child. We always joke in the family that it was the reason his parents waited 10 years to have their second child, Ramon. It was certainly a time of freedom for children, something that must have suited him perfectly well as he is a man who lives for freedom! What a handful he must have been! Alongside his energetic and insatiable desire to be free, there would be an equally insatiable creative talent.
Here is Paul and his parents Pablo and Dorothy Ygartua.