Esoteric Urbanism was the term used to describe the art and creative lifestyle of this New Jersey based artist by a dear friend. Once she gave permission to use it, the rest is history. Esoteric Urbanism is the ongoing exploration into the visual arts via mixed media collage, drawing, painting, sculpture, print making, graphic design and photography. This site is the place to personally build your relationship as a patron, curator, fellow artist or someone just curious about Kortez’ past or current projects.
This Saturday, August 25th catch Kortez and friends at 1 Main Street in downtown Freehold NJ. He is the creative director, curator and one of the organizers of the 3rd Annual African Diaspora Arts Festival and the “I’m Every Woman” exhibit at the Freehold art Gallery happening the same day. The News Transcript just published a article written by Kortez and it gives all the information you need.
Kortez has been exhibiting throughout New York Tri City area with a focus in New Jersey for over 25 years. The artist calls Newark NJ his home away from home when it comes to his creative experiences since his graduating from the Newark School of Fine and Industrial Arts in 1993. Newark is where it all started and he still exhibits in Newark to this day.
In the spring of 2016 Kortez made his national and regional TV debut on One on One with Steve Adubato. The interview highlighted life, creative inspiration and his connection to Newark NJ as an artist. Very soon after that taping, Kortez was off to Chicago a group exhibit at the prestigious Gallery Guichard. By coincidence, the exhibition was titled “Urbanism” and launched Kortez on the national art scene.
Here in New Jersey, Kortez has been busy all over the state with a focus in Newark, Freehold and Asbury Park. In Newark NJ Vonda’s Kitchen, a successful soul food restaurant, has been exhibiting art for years. This is epicenter in Newark where the artist not only premiers his own art but also showcases other local New Jersey artists. Creative heavy weights like Steve Green, Josie Barreiro, Armisey Smith and Suliman Onque have all graced the walls at Vonda’s since Kortez has taken on the roll of curator/artist.
Over the past year Kortez has also been exhibiting with ArtFront Galleries in various spaces all over the city of Newark. As a thank you, Kortez has incorporated ArtFront Galleries artists David Cubie and Genesis Tramaine to Vonda’s Kitchen. More artists will be filtered into this alternative exhibiting space. In the Central Jersey area Vonda’s Kitchen is the perfect place to witness the creative vision of Esoteric Urbanism.
Consistently Kortez has made it a point to address social issues in his art. Often he refers to art as, “His weapon of choice”. His most powerful statement to date was an exhibit called “Misogyny is the root of all evil“. It’s a hash tag muse and dear friend Kim Jacobs created while casually calling out the misogyny Kortez was displaying during conversations and how he interacted with women. As a way of nurturing and creating therapy for himself and others, Kortez took the conversation further by creating a group exhibit at the Living Incubator Performance Space (L.I.P.S.) in Newark NJ.
The show was a success and in a way was the precursor to the current national conversation about what Kortez likes to call, “Man issues”. One of the highlights of “Misogyny” event was the Puki Parade thru Newark Penn Station. Participating Brooklyn artist, mentor and activist Reynolds created this multi media performance. It is a ritual that she has performed internationally at her solo and group shows. The much needed conversation on women’s issues continues via the closed Facebook group of the same name, Misogyny is the root of all evil. Make sure you join that group and take part in the dialogue.
In Monmouth County you can see Kortez’s work at Palette Gallery in the heart of Asbury Park NJ’s art district on Cookman Ave. He is also a member of a visual collaborative team created by Palette Gallery’s owner, Joseph Borzotta. The visual experiment is simply called “Mixtape“. The collective collaborates on canvases creating this spontaneous multimedia visual interaction between artists. Kortez states, “Joseph Borzotta has been a blessing as a friend and mentor over the past couple years.” You can see a conversation with the two on 5 Minutes with The Gallery Guy video blog that was just released on YouTube. The video gives you a taste of what Kortez brings to the table and where it all started.
Also in Asbury Park, Kortez created a mural at Dark City Brewery located at 1001 Main Street. This is where the “5 Minutes interview” was shot. The mural was temporary and was taken down in mid February. The experience has opened many creative doors and the artist is always looking for the next challenge.
In his home town of Freehold, again in Monmouth County, Kortez is creating a niche for himself by shaking things up a bit by exhibiting art which at times addresses social commentary in this very suburban setting. “The town is straight up conservative and I have a unique opportunity to address social issues that seldom get addressed in the creative forums I have encountered. I see art as a vehicle to open up conversations”, says the artist.
The Freehold Art Gallery has been key to not only exhibiting his art, the gallery has offered Kortez the opportunity to curate. During Black History Month, The Rare Glimpse exhibit provided a platform to showcase other artists who have never exhibited in Freehold. In August of 2017, Kortez curated an exhibit titled CONNECTION(S). The show featured a diverse group of artists illustrating their personal connection to the African diaspora. The exhibit was part of the 2nd Annual African Diaspora Arts festival. The festival is now going into its 3rd year and the theme is “I’m Every Women, the women of the African Diaspora and beyond”. Kortez states, “This is continuing where the “Misogyny” exhibit left off”. So the festival and the exhibit is sure to be interesting. You can follow the festival on Instagram and Twitter for updates and other special events.
We really hope you enjoy the art and stay tuned for more information as we head into the fall. If you are interested in any of the art, please call the office phone and leave a message, 732 294 7161. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter are the best ways on social media to connect with the artist. Again thanks for your support and please share the information.