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.
On Saturday Dec. 1st Kortez and Easton Davy will be conducting a Artist Talk at The Moody Jones Gallery in (Philadelphia) Glenside PA. The exhibit is called “Common Boundaries” and it pays homage to the gallery of the same name Easton Davy had during the early 90’s in Jersey City NJ. The gallery was the first establishment to give Kortez the opportunity to show his art after graduating college.
Once a month the gallery hosted a poetry event called “Soul Therapy”. It was there that Kortez was introduced to the whole underground Poetry scene and the beginning of tech as we know it today. While MC’s and poets like Reg E Gaines were doing their thing downstairs, code was being written upstairs during the early days of the dot com boom. Easton Davy was the Maestro and gave Kortez a creative platform to not only show his art, Kortez was also the resident DJ. This Saturday you will have a chance to see and hear how these two artists have come full circle in their own words. Local MC/Poet named Nadirah Shakur will be blessing us with a performance along with Common Boundary alumni Regtuiniah “Nzinga” Chavis. Both performers will be doing their own thing in the spirit of the performances that used to happen at the Jersey City gallery in the 90’s. Call 215 582 4496 for more information.
This past August you might of caught Kortez and friends at 1 Main Street in downtown Freehold NJ with the 3rd Annual African Diaspora Arts Festival. The theme for the festival and art exhibit curated by Kortez was “I’m Every Woman”. That exhibit was hosted by the Freehold art Gallery and it happened that same day. The News Transcript published a piece written by Kortez and it gave all the information the community needed to come together for this family event that is becoming a tradition in Monmouth County. August 24th, 2019 is the next one, be sure to follow on Instagram and Facebook.
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 2 years 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. In the Central Jersey area Vonda’s Kitchen is the perfect place to witness the creative vision of Kortez’ 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.
One of “The MixTape” compositions
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 has been already replaced. The experience has opened many creative doors and the artist is always looking for the next challenge.
In his home town of Freehold, 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 several exhibits. This also includes exhibits during The African Diaspora Arts Festival. As mentioned before, the festival is now going into its 4th year. 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, thank you for your support and please share the information with others.