Born in 1984 in a family of business administrators, I was the artsy black sheep. 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 beFREEclothing and thanks to our award-winning business idea we suffered extortion and were forced to shut down.
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.
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.