The Universal Landscapes of Jose Jimenez
Under Jose Jimenez’s hand, natural landscapes turn to dreamscapes. The Toronto-based artist recreates scenes of nature characterized by an unnatural use of colour and vivid serenity. With work branching into politics, portraiture, and recently, multimedia projects, Jimenez’s versatile work is a wonder of contemporary art.
Born and raised in Venezuela, Jimenez has always had an interest in artistic creation, yet was surrounded by a community and family unsupportive of the arts. Jewelry making, however, provided the artist with a gateway into the arts. After five years in the jewelry industry, Jimenez went to Canada to further study the field, but found painting along the way—the medium which would fulfill his lifelong love of the arts.
Shortly after completing his bachelor's degree in drawing and painting, Jimenez’s studio caught fire, destroying the entirety of 5 years of work. The setback challenged Jiminez’s aspirations and froze his ability to create, spurring doubts of his future in the art industry. However, the necessity to create soon took over, taking shape in the form of a recreation of Michelangelo's David, a piece which spiraled into an entire series that redefines iconic artist’s famous portraits and reignited Jimenez’s love for art amid disaster.
Having exposure year-round to the overpowering presence of nature in Venezuela, Jimenez developed a strong connection to nature that translates to his work. Through his art, Jimenez aims to connect viewers with the environment that surrounds them and takes pride in bringing them closer to nature’s artistic detail: “I have had people tell me they more consciously notice the shape of mountains because of my work or the structure of a tree, or the colours of the flowers. Somehow my work acts like a bridge that allows them to see a bit more of nature and its beauty.”
What distinguishes Jiminez’s landscapes is his almost psychedelic use of colour. In creating a piece, colour comes first, prioritized over the image itself in order to create a universal landscape. “I use colours which are very different from the ones you see in nature [so the] work becomes its own new place. It gets detached from reality and speaks a more universal language because of colours. Anyone from anywhere can feel attracted or identify with any landscape without caring where it is.”
“Since I do so many different types of work, I always try to find the best way or the appropriate technique to express an idea.” Jimenez works with a wide variety of mediums ranging from oil markers to acrylic paint and is constantly exploring new techniques to create art, including a 2020 multimedia project in collaboration with musician Andres Puche. The project tapped into Jimenez’s passion for music which has fueled his artistic career. Saying that he wants his work “to be in a place between Bob Marley and Pink Floyd,” Jiminez’s work radiates the vibrancy of reggae and rock music.
The powerful messages about Venezuela’s socioeconomic and political atmosphere in Jimenez's political works carry a brooding mood which, though emphasizes the crisis in Venezuela, starkly opposes the bright peacefulness of the rest of his work. Regarding this, Jimenez explains: “For many years I only did political works because I wanted people here in Canada to know what was happening there. The situation there has made me realize how many people live in very difficult situations. This is why I create the work I do now. As important as the political works are, I believe with my new works now I can bring some joy, some sort of hope to people in difficult situations.”
For more information on Jose Jimenez and his art, or to enquire on available work, visit josefjimenez.com