Carlos Zapata was born in Colombia in 1963. He has always had an interest in visual arts, and while he was in England in 1985 a friend brought him to the newly opened Cabaret Mechanical Theatre, (CMT) in London’s Covent Garden. Although he didn’t relate to automata initially, the ideas stayed with him for over a decade, and in 1998 he showed some pieces, which he had been making at home, to Sue Jackson, the owner of CMT. At the time Carlos was packing lamps in a factory, and Sue asked him to come and work at Cabaret instead.
Carlos refused at first, protesting that he couldn’t deal with the public – however Sue managed to persuade him, and he started working at CMT where he was able to meet many of the artists who had inspired him.
During this time he worked at home, with crude tools making small pieces of automata. CMT sold many of his early works, and Carlos was encouraged. Although CMT moved from its home in Covent Garden in 2000, Carlos quickly established himself as a new force in contemporary automata through CMT’s virtual exhibitions, and accepted many commissions for private collections around the world.
Carlos then went on to show his work in ‘Out of the Box!’ at the Air Gallery, London in December 2002.
This year he took part in our Touring Exhibition: ‘Automata!’ at the Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa, as well as occasional works in several other UK galleries, and a permanent series of works in the Contemporary Automata Museum in Japan.
He has developed a style of his own over the last few years, and his pieces are vibrant and full of emotion, they are also much larger and more sculptural than his earlier works.
Carlos often explores political themes, and draws on his Colombian background in his work.