The Frenetic Abstraction of Jose Cifuentes
Visual Artist Jose Cifuentes is a thirty-four-year-old mixed media abstract artist from Medellin, Colombia based in Toronto, Canada whose work features in NEW MOON which runs from October 24th-Nov 12th at Arta Gallery. Known for manifesting varied representations of freedom in his work, the artist utilizes a mixture of thick knife strokes with free-hand illustrations on canvas and recycled surfaces to create dramatic and evocative visuals that illustrate the precarious and emancipatory experience of being an immigrant.
Drawing on aspects of abstract expressionism, neo-figurativism and pop art, Jose’s frenzied and striking visuals coalesce a sense of chaos and yearning, utilizing visceral paint strokes, loose lines, deliberate drips, and haphazard splatters to evoke the tumult and freneticism of uprooting oneself. To be an immigrant, he muses “is to struggle in life with instability, but this also means embracing the realities of said struggle to grow bold, fearless and free.”
Cifuentes cites his artistic inspirations as rooted in sheer will and determination rather than genre or form. “I am very much inspired by any artist who creates for the sake of bringing art to the world. After all these years of creating art, I have come to realize that it is not the work of a certain artist that inspired me but their guts to create it, to never give up and put it out there for the world to see and experience.”
As for where he finds inspiration, the artist maintains his process is elusive and often incessant. “(It) sometimes happens when I sleep or meditate. Silence creates endless possibilities where my ideas flow continuously, many times I illustrate ten, twenty pages of faces, expressions and weird sketches in a matter of minutes. Since an early age, I have been drawn to illustrate and paint faces, particularly eyes, expressions, and gestures, but the message they convey is what creates art in my head, coming to life in bold, in-your-face paintings full of deep strong colours and free-hand illustrations. Using canvases and recycled surfaces I prepare the backgrounds with thick strokes of paint, drips, and splatters while Jazz from Cannonball Adderley plays in the back. The image is already painted in my head, and all I have to do is bring it out and let my moods decide what colour palettes to choose from.”
Cody Rooney is a Glossi Mag contributor.
He is a photography aficionado, masters candidate, fashion enthusiast, avid Ariana Grande fan and lover of all things aesthetically pleasing.