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My Story

CIFUENTES sitting in front of his artwork titled 2020: The Beginning

CIFUENTES' artistic practice is rooted in the visual expression of freedom. He looks to his own experiences as a Colombian immigrant in North America, often marked by instability and restriction. In response, CIFUENTES’ work seeks to break free from convention in order to express emotional havoc. Starting out as a street artist, CIFUENTES keeps with the tradition through his use of spray paint and marker, juxtaposed with acrylic and oil paint. The resulting canvases oscillate between the abstract and the figural, stylistically defying categorization. Freedom of expression in both style and concept is the thread that binds the works in CIFUENTES’ oeuvre. 

Born in Medellin, Colombia, CIFUENTES moved to the United States as a teenager. He completed a diploma from Bergen College in New Jersey where he studied Fine Arts. In 2009, CIFUENTES moved back to Medellin where he founded the award-winning clothing brand beFREE. In 2016 CIFUENTES moved to Toronto where he continues to live and work. 

CIFUENTES’ work has been featured in fairs and exhibitions internationally, including Red Dot Miami, Florida; Gallery 1313, Toronto; ARTA Gallery, Toronto; Distrito Creativo el Perpetuo Socorro, Medellin; and Monroe Center for the Arts, Hoboken. He is recipient of the Panasonic Creative Excellence Award and a 2019 Refugee and Newcomer Mentorship Grant from Toronto Arts Council. He is a member of CARFAC Ontario and the TMFA Community.



  • April 2020. Toronto Arts Council, COVID19 Artist Relief Fund.
  • June 2019. Toronto Arts Council, Newcomer and Refugee Artist Grant & Mentorship. - $5K.
  • March 2012. Inexmoda, Mayor’s Office City of Medellín — Winner of exhibition booth in Colombiamoda, South America's top fashion event. Our premium menswear brand beFREE clothing was one of the 25 recipients out of 1,200 for this award.
  • March 2011. Capital Semilla, Mayor’s Office City of Medellín — Winner of grant to develop business idea: beFREE clothing Co. The business idea and concept for our menswear brand beFREE clothing was one of the 100 recipients out of 2,500 for this award. Our visionary concept brought us attention from the media and local businesses.
  • June 2004. Weehawken High School, Weehawken, New Jersey, USA —  Senior Class Artist Award, Full Ride Scholarship Recipient
  • June 2004. Senate & General Assembly, State of New Jersey — Citation. Commendations extended by the citizenry of the 33rd New Jersey Legislative District through their elected representatives for bringing honor and pride to my family and community.
  • May 2004. Panasonic, Issued by Hudson County New Jersey — Creative Excellence Award. 

 CIFUENTES standing in front of his artwork titled Tangles Burnt



  • December 2021. Red Dot Miami Art Fair. Miami Art Basel. Wynwood, FL
  • September/October 2020. A Brave New World. Gallery 1313, Toronto, ON
  • December 2020. Red Dot Miami Art Fair. Miami Art Basel. Wynwood, FL
  • August 2020. Coming Home - Online Exhibition. Gallery 1313. Toronto, ON
  • August 2020. Postponed - The VAM Exhibition. The Burroughes Building, Toronto, ON
  • May 2020. Covid Portraits II - Online Exhibition. Gallery 1313. Toronto, ON. 
  • May 2020.Postponed - Solo Show: VOLVER. Distrito Creativo el Perpetuo Socorro, Medellin, Colombia
  • April 2020. Postponed - SAVE ME: A Call to Artists to Save Mother Earth. Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, Toronto, ON
  • November/December 2019. HOLIDAY SHOW - Group Show — ARTA Gallery, Distillery District. Toronto, ON, Canada
  • October/November 2019. NEW MOON - Group Show — ARTA Gallery, Distillery District. Toronto, ON, Canada. This group show was my first Canadian exhibition, and the first one in years after many interruptions to my creative flow.
  • July 2009. EUREKA - Neumann Leathers Fundraiser Group Show — Secret Location. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
  • May 2009. UBUNTU - Auction and Fundraiser to bring medical aid to Africa — NYU New York University. New York City, New York, USA
  • September 2008. SEARCHLESS. Solo Show — Full House Printing. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
  • September 2008. NEUMANN AT MAXWELL'S. Fundraiser Group Show — Maxwell's Bar. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
  • July 2008. POLITRIX. Group Show — Monroe Center for the Arts. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
  • July 2008. THE ARTIST'S MYTHOLOGY. Group Show Curated by La Ola Art Collective — Park Avenue Gallery Bar. Union City, NJ, USA
  • June 2008. THE REALITY OF JOHN DOE. Solo Show — O'Connells Bar. Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
  • May 2008. HOBOKEN ARTISTS STUDIO TOUR — Neumann Leathers Buildings. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA 
  • May 2008. LATIN AMERICAN ART EXHIBIT Group Show — Cultural Arts Center of Hackensack. Hackensack, New Jersey, USA
  • April 2008. Signs of the Times / Decay & Regrowth Group Show Curated by La Ola Art Group — Park Avenue Gallery Bar. Union City, New Jersey, USA
  • February 2008. RED (Disambiguation) Group Show — Paul Vincent Studios. Hoboken, New Jersey, USA
  • July 2007. Welcome to a New Reality. Solo Show — Salsa Fever Dance Academy. Jersey City, New Jersey, USA
  • May 2007. Latin American Art Exhibit Group Show — Cultural Arts Center of Hackensack. Hackensack, New Jersey, USA



  • 2017 - May 2018. Humber College, Toronto, ON — Fashion Arts & Business Diploma with Honours. Specialization in management, collection conceptualization, product development, leadership and process standardization. Hands-on knowledge of brand development and real life business scenarios.
  • June 2014. ARC Colombia, Sauder School of Business, University of British Columbia. Medellin, Colombia — Business Skills Workshop  
  • September 2014 - June 2017. Bergen Community College, Paramus, New Jersey, USA — Associate Degree in Fine Arts - Scholarship - Honours. Detailed program in creative and fine arts.
  • ​April 2007 - August 2009. Neumann Leathers Buildings, Hoboken, New Jersey, USA —  Spent wonderful years practicing my art at the Neumann Leathers Buildings. Working side by side with experienced visual artists and musicians, showcasing my work at local galleries and restaurants.
  • ​1998 - 2000. Medellin, Colombia — Graffiti Art Apprentice
  • 1993 - 1998. Arte Espacio Art Academy. Medellin, Colombia — Art Foundations



My studio is based and established on the traditional territory of the Wendat, the Anishnaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Métis, and the Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation. I acknowledge them and any other Nations who care for the land (acknowledged and unacknowledged, recorded and unrecorded) as the past, present and future caretakers of this land named Tkaronto, “Where The Trees Meet The Water”; “The Gathering Place”.

Indigenous peoples have stewarded this land for 15,000 years and continue to do so today. I recognize that this gathering place is the subject of the One Dish, One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant – an agreement between the Iroquois Confederacy and Confederacy of the Ojibwe and allied nations to peaceably share and care for the resources around the Great Lakes.



© Copyright Notice: All images are copyrighted © by Jose Cifuentes. The use of any image from this site is prohibited unless prior written permission from the artist is obtained. Jose Cifuentes’ artworks are protected by national and international copyright laws. Anyone found to have infringed a copyrighted work may be liable for statutory damages, in addition, an infringer of a work may also be liable for the attorney’s fees incurred by the copyright owner to enforce his rights.©©©®© If you wanna use my work, thank you, but please pay me.