In memoriam: Enrique Candioti, former art director of the VCReporter
Enrique “Henry” Candioti passed away Thanksgiving morning after a year-long fight with stage 4 kidney cancer that metastasized to his brain. After major surgery and radiation treatments that left him exhausted and debilitated, he lost his battle in peace in the company of Tiffany Cole, his wife and the mother of his child, Sebastian. In honor of his lasting effect on so many lives, we have dedicated space for those who knew him to share their memories. Enrique’s memorial service will be held on Thursday, Nov. 29, at 2 p.m. at St. Thomas Aquinas, 185 Saint Thomas Drive in Ojai, on the corner of Maricopa Highway and El Roblar. Cole has written his obituary, followed by memoirs of friends and colleagues. For more stories about Enrique, go to VCReporter.com.
Obituary by Tiffany Cole, wife,
mother of his child, Sebastian
Enrique (Henry) Candioti, 47, died peacefully in his home while surrounded by loved ones on Thanksgiving morning, Nov. 22, 2012.
He was born June 23, 1965, in London, England, to Enrique Luis Alejandro Candioti and Maria Rosa Gondra Candioti.
He married Tiffany Cole on March 8, 2012, at their home in Ojai.
Enrique was a beloved son, a cherished brother, a loving father, a devoted husband and a treasured friend. As the child of an Argentine diplomat, Enrique spent his early years living in England, Switzerland, Germany and Argentina. He attended high school in Buenos Aires and went on to receive a bachelor of fine arts in architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. He then pursued a profession in graphic design in New York City. After moving to Ojai in 2003, he began his eight-year career as art director of the VC Reporter. Enrique was a champion-sponsored freestyle skateboarder, avid surfer and snowboarder, professional reggae and dancehall mixmaster, dedicated raw food vegan, animal lover, connoisseur of earth-friendly clothing, and creator and proprietor of Henry’s Frozen Delight raw vegan ice cream, which he served with a smile every Sunday at the Ojai Farmer’s Market.
Enrique was diagnosed with stage 4 kidney cancer in October of 2011 and passed away after a year-long battle with the disease.
He is survived by wife Tiffany Cole and 5-year-old son Sebastian Cole Candioti of Ojai; mother and father Maria Rosa Gondra and Enrique Jose Alejandro Candioti of Buenos Aires, Argentina; and brother Alejandro Candioti of Buenos Aires, Argentina.
BD Dautch, friend
Henry had his feet in so many different worlds, from South America to the diplomatic world of Europe to Ojai. His fondness for Hergé’s Adventures of Tintin was our most common ground, betraying his warm heart and eclectic love of life and culture. The fact that he made organic, vegan, sugarless ice cream and burned me reggae CDs also won him a place in my heart. It saddened me to see what he had to endure these past few years; we all have different destinies. Fortunately, he lived according to his ideals and left behind many fine memories as well as a really neat son, Sebastian, with whom he and Tiffany were blessed. Adios, amigo. Vaya con Dios.
Matthew Singer, former art and culture editor, VCReporter
For the rest of my life, there is a certain scent that, whenever I catch a whiff, will immediately make me think of Enrique Candioti: the pungent, sour odor of durian. Enrique and I first worked together when the Reporter was headquartered at the Ventura Harbor, in offices much smaller than the ones it occupies now. A few days into his tenure as the paper’s art director, a stench wafted through our tiny workspace, an aroma so gag-inducing I thought someone had left a dumpster open near a window. I followed the smell back to Enrique’s desk, where he was eating a bowl of the offensive, spiny-shelled fruit. As nasty as that introduction may have been, I am grateful for it, because it led to my first extended conversation with Enrique, and became a running joke through the countless chats we’d have over the next few years. I always looked forward to traveling into the production department at the downtown office to discuss layouts with him, because I knew we’d end up ignoring work and talking and laughing about a million other things for at least 20 minutes. We bonded over music, primarily, and our own mutual, absurd senses of humor. He was truly an overgrown kid, in all the best ways. We lost contact after I moved out of state in 2008, reconnecting briefly through e-mail after I heard he was sick, but I will still miss him greatly. The void of kindness and joy he leaves behind is one you can’t help but feel, even from hundreds of miles away.
Stacey Wiebe, former deputy editor, VCReporter
Instead of telling you that Enrique will be greatly missed (he will) and that the world will shine a little less without him in it (it will), I will tell you one of my favorite Enrique tales:
One night many years past, when Enrique lived in New York, he went out to see a movie all by himself. He was contentedly enjoying said film when things were set amiss by a mighty whiff of cigarette smoke.
Enrique set his rounder-than-round eyes, lively and liquid and the color of dark chocolate (note that he, a strict raw vegan, would prefer organic raw cacao to dark chocolate), upon the theater’s grainy darkness in search of the outrageous offender.
It didn’t take long for our Mr. Candioti to aim his stink-eye upon the man who was heedlessly puffing away.
Now, it would be easy to dismiss Enrique as a human grab bag of eccentricities when he was in fact a man of passion uniquely, unafraid of expressing truths held dear. One truth was that his cats should be fed only raw, organic meat. Another was that fellow theater patrons should not smoke while he was trying to watch a movie, damn it.
“Hey,” Enrique said again, with that voice that could sound rich and deep and a little lazy all at the same time. “Why don’t you put out your cigarette? I didn’t pay to breathe your smoke.”
As you might imagine, the man refused, and rather rudely, too.
“So, so, you know what I did?”
I can see Enrique sitting on the couch in my editor’s office as he relays the story, remember the way his eyes — heck, his whole face — made the leap from outrage to mischievousness.
“What did you do, Enrique?” I asked, suspecting that his delight in telling the story would be better than the story itself.
I was wrong.
Enrique, it turns out, chose to fight fire with fire.
That is, he fought the smoldering cigarette with a fruit that, while not technically flammable, does smell an awful lot like natural gas.
Those of you who knew Enrique would not be surprised that he happened to have a durian in his car, nor that he waged war by fruit when he brought it into the movie theater, plunked down right behind the smoker and proceeded to eat the darn thing.
It’s worth noting that the innocent-looking durian fruit, which can be identified by its revolting and overpowering odor, actually does not taste half bad. (I know this because Enrique made me try it.)
“So the guy says, ‘What the hell is that!? Stop it!’ ” Enrique was clearly delighted at this point in the tale and laughing so hard that he could barely finish. “So I say, ‘You put out the cigarette and I will put out the durian.’ ”
Oh, Enrique Candioti, there is no one else like you.
Thank you for your friendship.
Stephanie Kinnear, former editor-in-chief,
VCReporter, Ventana Monthly
One of the first things Enrique Candioti ever said to me was, “Guess how old I am?” I hardly knew him — he’d probably only been working at the Reporter for a few days. Now, I don’t recall what number I went with, but I do remember that I guessed he was a full 10 years younger than his actual age at that time. He was pleased. “Can you believe it?” he asked me, smiling, shaking his head as though he couldn’t believe it himself. He was such a kid at heart, so playful, and so much fun to work with.
Then he asked me if I wanted to try some of his homemade almond milk. I did. It was delicious.
All the crazy food he made was delicious. And he always wanted to share it. The only thing I never tried was the infamous durian. I can picture him standing in the doorway of my office, laughing, threatening to open his Tupperware and unleash the stench. “Smells like hell, tastes like heaven,” he would say.
It always seemed to me that Enrique had life boiled down to the most important things: his music (reggae), his food (raw), his family and his friends. He didn’t let himself get too concerned about much else. It was a great lesson to learn from a co-worker.
He was unique — such a kind, silly, talented person. He will be so missed.
Saundra Sorenson, former full-time staff writer,
VCReporter, assistant editor, Ventana Monthly
Six years ago, I had the good fortune to be hired on as a writer at the newsrag I loved. I immediately sensed that working with Enrique would be a fringe benefit. I now see it was nothing short of a miracle.
Enrique defies the generic pleasantries most of us fall back on in times of grief. The reggae-loving diplomat’s son was, of course, kind and generous. And yes, he was laid-back and salt-of-the-earth — so much so that it took me a while to catch on to the fact that he was also both wickedly funny and endlessly fascinating.
He was an RISD grad and former pro skateboarder who drove his Honda Civic all the way from Brooklyn to Southern California, four cats and a U-Haul trailer full of his prized DJ equipment in tow.
Enrique was at the very least trilingual, but even with his continental education, he held fast to his native Argentinian dialect. This gave him the air of a streetwise romantic poet, whether he was making one of his animated (and frequent) arguments pushing the raw food lifestyle, or simply making a low-brow quip to break the tension on deadline days.
During our commutes to the newsroom, Enrique inspired in me a deeper, if reluctant, love for my hometown; he was the only guy my age I knew who lived in Ojai by choice and not necessity. (In truth, Enrique was twice my age. He delighted in asking people to guess how old he was. The raw food diet suited him; I’ll give him that.)
There are so many more relics I’d love to sift through here: The photo of a teenage Enrique shaking hands with President Ronald Reagan, an unrealized health food brand (Uncle Candioti’s line of raw ice cream), an inexplicably charred Chuckie doll that Enrique left around the office as a kind of affectionate threat.
I will miss knowing you’re in the world, Enrique. Thank you for your friendship, your savvy tips on the essentials of feline nutrition — and, in a nod to your beloved Tiffany and Sebastian, thank you for demonstrating how passion, adventure, family and home can seamlessly combine in a life well-lived.
I will spill a blended durian into the earth in your honor. Much love, friend.
Michael Sullivan, managing editor, VCReporter
Enrique Candioti, or Candi, as I would call him, was quite the character. When I came on board in 2008, he quickly became a good friend but he also took advantage of certain situations to get under my skin. 1. He wasn’t one for making editorial corrections without giving us a piece of his mind over it. 2. He loved durian, and the smell was absolutely repulsive. But he hated the nickname Candi. So we learned to accept things that we couldn’t change.
Eventually, durian had a sweet scent and Candi wasn’t so bad anymore. 3. Mr. Multitasker Extraordinaire — ice cream maker, DJ, father, skater, graphic designer — was also quite the jokester. In the midst of the 2008 election season, he decided to change a pullquote attribution that I fortunately caught. He, however, forgot to change it and I didn’t catch it the second time. So off to the presses it went. Let’s just say a certain politician will never think of the word “goober” in quite the same way.
The list goes on and on with Enrique — many great, fun and sometimes irritating memories. But that was Candi as I knew him, as he wanted me to know him. He was a great person — stubborn as heck — with friends all over the world who loved him. He will be sorely missed. RIP, friend and colleague.
Kelly-Marie Tracy, sales team leader, VCReporter
Whether it was music, art, skateboarding, raw food or ice cream, Enrique Candioti always exhibited an enthusiasm for life. I began working with Enrique when he first started at the VCReporter in 2005 and we were based in the harbor. A talented graphic designer, it was great to welcome him on board. He soon stepped up into the role of art director, one that he brought a great deal of creativity to. Many discussions were had regarding his cover ideas and what he wanted to achieve with different concepts. For all the pride he showed in his work, however, it couldn’t touch that which being a father to his son Sebastian brought him. Whether he was taking Sebatian’s picture for the cover of our Best Of issue or bringing him into the office to look at the fish, Enrique exhibited a love for his son that was evident for all to see.
I know that Sebastian will have memories of his Dad. He will also be surrounded by people from all over the world who can recount tales of adventures they experienced with Enrique and how much he added to their lives.
Diane Newman, sales rep, VCReporter
Enrique spent years adding a bit of excitement to the VCReporter week after week with his creative covers. Some memorable ones like the Obama cover of 2008 because of his many personal friendships. (Enrique had been roommates with Shepard Fairey who designed the famous Obama “HOPE” poster.) He was also the creator of the world’s greatest raw ice cream! Love and light to his family during these difficult days.
Please feel free to leave your own comments or share more stories about our dear friend.