Jose Cifuentes is a thirty-five-year-old mixed media abstract artist from Medellin, Colombia. Jose moved his life and practice to Toronto, Canada, to find inspiration for his current chapter of creation. Known for manifesting varied visual representations of freedom, his art is a mixture of thick knife strokes with free-hand illustrations on canvas and recycled surfaces. He collects and portrays moods and faces that are in vivid, visceral paint strokes, loose lines, deliberate drips and passionate splatters. All this to the great end of creating the ideal marriage of fine and urban art.
He draws from his experience as an immigrant in the U.S.A, and now Canada, to express the authenticity of artistic freedom and the emotional havoc that surrounds it. To be an immigrant is to struggle in life with instability, but this also means embracing the realities of said struggle to grow bold, fearless and free. Jose continually defies the odds by shaking the conventional foundations of tradition seminal to the way of life in predominantly Catholic countries such as Colombia and United States.
-- Funded by Toronto Arts Council. Proud to be a part of CARFAC Ontario.
Born in 1984 in a family of business administrators, I was the black sheep. Artist since I can remember, enrolled in art academies since I was seven years old and did poorly in any subject that did not involve creativity. When I was fifteen I moved to the U.S where I went to High School and received the Class Artist Award my Senior year, only to be a proud recipient of a full ride scholarship to study Fine Arts at Bergen Community College in New Jersey. After graduation I began to paint professionally and exhibit my work numerous times throughout NJ and NYC. Due to a fucked up immigration story, I had to leave the States and move back to Medellin, Colombia, where I used my art to start a clothing brand and bring that business side of the family to fruition. The name of my brand was beFREE clothing and thanks to our award-winning business idea we suffered extortion and were forced to shut down.
After shutting down our shop, I landed a sweet gig in the biggest streetwear brand in the country and we took that company to a new level.
Two years later we decided to move to Canada and start a life in a safe place where we don't have to fear for our lives and my art could flourish. Since December 2016 believe it has.
In 2019 I was the proud recipient of the Refugee and Newcomer Mentorship Grant by Toronto Arts Council and had a great opportunity to exhibit my work at Arta Gallery in the Distillery District.
- 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.
- 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.