Grillo Demo: The painter's home in Ibiza

Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Elle McPherson are among the famous names who own one of Grillo Demo's jasmine paintings. But, says Chloe Grimshaw, his house in Ibiza eschews all A-list glitz in favour of colourful bohemian chic
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The Independent Online

Demo's home on the island is a small, two-bedroom cottage where he can focus on his art and tend to his garden that's filled with fragrant lemon and almond trees and, of course, every type of jasmine.

From an early interest in architecture, Demo has gone on to create innovative spaces and installations inside the cottage and the surrounding gardens. In the summer, he sets up "outdoor rooms" filled with piles of books, candles, daybeds and cushions all under trailing canopies of roses and bougainvillea.

One particular installation evolved over the summer of 2004, with Demo creating a towering sculpture from candles and various broken objects. It is now part of an intimate seating area, next to a terracotta wall covered with trailing roses, a green trestle table, and turquoise chairs that he found in a charity shop.

And adding to the colour, in front of a pergola of dazzling roses, Demo has placed a daybed next to a low table made from an Ibizenco old door. Meanwhile, two eyes, fringed with green and red, look out from a ceramic jug placed on a rough wooden table.

Demo reminds us that as well as the visual picture of the garden, "there is also the scent that surrounds the picture; of honeysuckle and jasmine". And hanging on the garden wall is a large cloth decorated with a large painting of a falling jasmine, and with a deep red border. Demo says the canvas is, "a kind of Veronica, which is the type of material that they used to clean the face of Christ".

Indeed, Catholic references echo through all of Demo's art, as he paints pictures of jasmine on to images of the Madonna, the Christ child and crucifixes. And hanging from Demo's neck as we talk is a red silk ribbon that holds golden good luck charms and stones, crucifixes and ganeshas which have all been given to him as presents by friends.

One of Demo's closest associates is Vincente, the owner of Ganesha in Ibiza town, which specialises in vintage furniture and antiques. The 1960s lamp in the kitchen and the crucifix hanging behind the bed were both found by Vincente for the house.

Taking pride of place in the bedroom, however, is a portrait of Demo painted on pieces of broken plates by fellow artist Julian Schnabel. And the Schnabel family influence doesn't stop there. Julian's wife Olatz makes fine bed linen in white and aqua with coral edging, and her pillows are scattered throughout the house. "Naples yellow, coral and turquoise are the best colours for a house in the sun," proclaims Demo - he has painted all the doors and window frames with these vibrant colours. He also selects colours for his home based on his travels, such as the yellow canvas behind the bed inspired by Tibetan flags, and the vivid red used for curtains, cushions and canvases, that comes from his visits to India.

In the winter, Demo leaves Ibiza to go home to Argentina, and to explore India, travelling to Delhi, Goa and Jaipur. His bedroom is full of finds from these exotic journeys to the Subcontinent, such as the blue-and-white patchwork quilt and the red 19th-century carpet with embroidered gold edging. The mosquito net hanging from the ceiling is from South America. The bedroom, like the whole house, is a giant canvas, one which Demo is always adding to.