Esoteric Urbanism was the term used to describe the art and creative lifestyle of this New Jersey based artist by a dear friend of his. 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, photography, fashion and DJ Culture. This site is the place to personally build a personal relationship as a patron, curator, fellow artist or someone just curious about Kortez‘ past or current projects. If U would like to see more, please reach out via phone or email at (518) 468- 2430 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The phone, IG and Facebook is the fastest way to contact the artist. All the highlighted links lead to material that will give you more information and a broader view of the topic we are speaking about.
Above is an article in the February issue of Suburban Essex
The last exhibition Kortez participated in was at Bridge Arts Gallery in Bayonne New Jersey. “The Games People Play” is an exhibit curated by Dr. Antoinette Ellis-Williams and the show featured 18 artists in total. The exhibit came down this past February. Go to www.bridgeartgallery.net to get more information on the other exhibiting artists.
“The Games People Play” was the last exhibit Kortez was in at The Bridge Art Gallery
The Black Lives Matter Mural that was created in East Orange NJ earlier in April of 2021. All together 16 artists completed the largest mural in East Orange to date at the Manufacturers Village on Glenwood Ave. Kortez will be sharing his own experience executing his portion of the mural. This was a beautiful project and more can be seen at manufacturersvillage.com . Below are a few pics from that project. Please note all the links are connected to news coverage on the Black Lives Matter Mural.
This is how Kortez described the creative process and his overall experience on the project.
“The overall design I wanted to keep simple. I decided to make my section abstract to allow me the freedom to make creative changes while working on the piece. I also took the liberty to basically freestyle the design using the sketch as a base. Even with the short cuts I laid out to make the execution simple, it was a grueling process but I enjoyed every moment. Each artist was assigned a letter and we had two working days to complete the letter. I was given the letter “I” and it was completed in about 8 hours. I remember telling the press this was the most physically demanding art project I’ve ever worked on. The constant up and down and being on my knees put a hurtin’ on my body. I just thought of the pain we experience as a people across the diaspora and continued to complete my section. The pain we experience due to police brutality and white supremacy was a major motivating factor to complete my section of the mural. The discomfort is nothing when U compare it to what our ancestors endured throughout the centuries dealing with settler colonialism and the social conditioning of white supremacy in our society. The discomfort just made me want to work harder and to see 15 other artists going through the same process was actually beautiful. Creating art with a purpose under these conditions was very inspiring to me. I would definitely do this again if the opportunity presented itself, creating art that directly connects with the community is my favorite aspect of being an artist. I love the results and love how people respond to art that is created just for them. Until now, I really didn’t have a desire to create public art. There will definitely be more coming in the future from me as it pertains to community projects and public art as a whole.”
In 2021 Kortez had a successful group exhibit at the Bridge Art Gallery in Bayonne NJ. The show is curated by Bryant Small. The name of the exhibit is Kilolo Kumanyika, Xplore Freedom and Christopher Mack. The exhibit opening has pasted but the gallery is still showing the work until the end of February. For an appointment contact www.bridgeartgallery.net. I just recently did a interview with Bridge Arts Magazine so I’m sure more is coming down the pike with this beautiful space in the heart of Bayonne New Jersey.
“This painting is on display at Vonda’s Kitchen located at 183-185 West Kinney St. Newark NJ. The painting is a dedication to my dearly departed Brother Jerry Gant who was a prolific creative voice in Newark NJ.”
359 Main Street East Orange NJ is the home of HOUSE OF BAV. The establishment is an extension of Born Again Vintage, the sustainable fashion brand that has pioneered upcycled fashion worldwide via the book; Born Again Vintage 25 ways to deconstruct, reinvent & recycle your wardrobe, classes at Fashion Institute of Technology and IFA Paris and implementing sustainable fashion initiatives in secondary educational institutions. The store is house all things sustainable and will be the epicenter of the Arts and Cultural community of East Orange New Jersey.
The store also exhibits an array of fine arts by Kortez. The artist often never show works on paper and there is a wide selection of art on paper to choose from. This is also where the artist creates some of his work. Weekends are the best time to catch him in action. Not only can you purchase art that is already made, commissioned pieces can also be arranged for your home, office or as a gift for a loved one. Fine art makes a great gift and Kortez is always available to meet your creative needs. In late 2020 Korteez© was introduced and its the name of the art Kortez creates on not only Tee Shirts, it embodies all apparel and Fashion accessories like earrings, bandanas and unique gifts for the home as well. To shop and experience the store online go to HOUSE OF BAV.
The garment above was painted for Grammy nominated DJ, Producer and recording artist Josh Milan. He is the label head of his label Honeycomb Music and he has been a force on the Dance music scene since the 80’s. House of BAV not only has apparel in the store, you can alter garments already in your wardrobe. Stop in or call 518 468 2430 to discuss options and the creative possibilities.
In April 5th, 2019 Kortez was selected by the Akwaaba Gallery in Newark NJ to participate in the group show titled “Portraits and Narratives” curated by Atim Annette Oton. Since that exhibit Kortez has been a fixture at the gallery particapating in group shows and helping promote the gallery since his work is often in the space. For more information contact the owner and curator Laura Z. Bonas Palmer at (917) 260 9122. The gallery is a beautiful space and we encourage everyone who can to visit and support the newest gallery to the Newark NJ art community.
House of BAV is the exclusive place to get designs created by stylist and sustainable fashion guru Bridgett Artise. She is the creator of Born Again Vintage (BAV). The BAV line is sustainable fashion and it is a hot trend that needs more visibility because it actually helps the environment. Ms. Artise and Kortez created a line of hand painted items called Kortez + BAV Collection that you can only get at the House of BAV.
The KORTEZ + BAV Collection premiered at the Sustainable Fashion Show hosted by Planet Fashion TV at 2019 Fashion Week in NYC . www.born-againvintage.com is the place to see more fashion and learn more about sustainable Fashion and the upcycle movement.
If you are in the East Orange NJ area, come to the brick and mortar HOUSE OF BAV. The store is located right outside the East Orange Station by City Hall. The address is 359 Main Street (AKA Dr. MLK BLVD). Follow House of BAV on Instagram at @houseofbav. Follow Born Again Vintage on Instagram and Facebook
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.
August of 2019 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 several 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. Art that is available for purchase can be found at the site http://www.houseofbav.com and visit our brick and mortar located at 359 Main Street in East Orange NJ on Wednesdays and Thursdays 12 noon to 7pm Friday and Saturday 1pm to 8pm and Sundays 1pm to 6pm. Note, because of recent health concerns, please call (518) 468 2430 or (908) 917 4007 to see if we are in the store. Again, thank you for your support and please share the information with others.