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About Jose Ortega

Jose is originally from Ecuador. He established himself as an illustrator in New York City, he know splits his time between NYC, Toronto and Barcelona.


He has worked on art commissions for such clients such as Absolut, MTV, Apple Computers, Bloomingdale's, Sony Music, Amnesty International and the New York Times. Jose has been the subject of numerous articles in international art and design journals and has received awards from organizations such as the Society of Illustrators,American Illustration, Print, Communication Arts and Graphis.

Ortega has also designed and completed many public art commissions including a series of mosaic murals for two NYC subway stations and a stained glass window for the Buckingham Hotel. Ortega’s recent projects are a series of murals for the Dundas West neighbourhood in Toronto and postage stamp designs for the US and Ecuadorian postal services.

IN 2002 he became co-founder and artistic director of Lula Lounge a live music venue in Toronto showcasing a diverse line-up of upcoming and established artists . Lula Lounge grew out of Open City, a non-profit organization which programmed and promoted many arts events including dance, poetry, visual arts and live music all hosted at Jose’s home. Lula Lounge has become ground-zero of Toronto’s exploding world music scene.

Lido Pimenta writes:

Jose Ortega occupies the pictoric spectrum with a vibrancy of colour, shape and form that exhale freedom and imagination without restraint. His quest for composition within chance reveal interesting and intricate patterns reminiscent of ancient Persian rug designs and Arab mosque tile and geometric shapes in South American textile. Equivalent to the impending sounds of nature revealed in his brush strokes, collage applications and treatment, exists an urban undertone that bonds the positive and negative space in his work; which is an honest most transparent re ection of his second generation immigrant persona that gets lost inside an imaginary homeland he has created for himself.


The love for Toronto which he refers to as “a multicultural city full of potential and pos- sibilities” is one of his great inspirations; A love that surpassed even the attachment to the city that actually watched him grow up, New York - and the land that witnessed his birth, Ecuador.


But it is not the question of where does one belong or comes from that make Ortega’s work. On the contrary, It is indeed the almost compulsive repetition of lines and shape within the imagery that makes Ortega’s work interesting. He is one of those artists that converses with the piece; he is not only the director of the visual orchestra but also the enabler behind the material acting as guide, until together they determine when the work is  nally done.


A rich colour palette of browns and ochres as well as a monochromatic sort of paint-patch- work show not only technical abilities but character and attention to detail. Jose Ortega’s work is honest and musical - It is a true re ection of what happens when one takes the time to strengthen a skill and develop a style. It is a true homage to community, but not a speci c one - his tribute is actively living in imaginary worlds that are mapped out in his visual lan- guage - in which the elements and principles of art and design run free by being enlightening without a religion and cultural without a speci c social context in mind. Lido Pimienta

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