Highlighting ROAM Gallery Artist
Josey Urbay - Painter/Illustrator
(Battle of the Brush - Winner 2015)
Jose R. Urbay is a Cuban-Canadian visual artist and graphic designer who has exhibited his artwork internationally in solo and group exhibitions in Havana, Madrid, New York, Brussels and Vancouver. He finds inspiration in his personal memories, spirituality, religion, nostalgia and the landscapes of his beloved island.
Urbay was born and raised in Havana City, Cuba. Coming from a family of artists, since early age he was first hand witness of the vibrant and globally recognized Cuban culture, his education and passion for the visual arts gave shape to a very specific yet diverse style. In 2008 he moved to Vancouver, making this beautiful city his new home and source of inspiration.
In 1994 Urbay started what it would be 5 years of study in the Institute of Design in Havana, specializing in Informational Design. Throughout his career his artwork is been published, exhibited and awarded in a myriad of publications, from children books to poetry magazines in Cuba. Some of his work is held in private collections in the United States and Norway.
My visual artist career started almost two decades ago. During my first years as a student at the Graphic Design Institute in Havana, illustration and poster design captivated all my attention and creative energy.
Surrealism masters and Cuban painters have had a strong influence on the development of my style and the way I conceive and formulate an idea or a narrative line. Giving new meanings to symbols and concepts, I always searched for the support or the reference of a story, a myth or a poem, as a compass to start the creative journey.
Each series or creative period responds to the same conceptual logic an illustrator would use in an editorial project. During the process of research and conceptualization, new meanings and images emerge, so new projects and series come to life. The way I determine and use the colours is strongly related to the way light and colours are manifested in the tropic. I often use primary colours, searching from time to time the over-saturation and vivid contrasts as well as an ambience that would relate to a dream or a past experience.
The imperceptible worlds have always been a fascination and a source of infinite curiosity to me. My art is the result of interpretations of those narratives that tell the story of men’s journey beyond this reality, such as Dante’s Inferno and The Bardo Thodol (Tibetan Book of the Dead), as well as the myths and beliefs from my home land such as Spiritism and the “Santería,” a syncretism of Catholic religion from Spain and the African slaves religions brought to Caribbean more than 400 years ago.
ROAM Gallery Group Show - January 2016
The Battle of the Brush- Winner - 2015
Roundhouse Arts and Community Centre - 2015
Vancouver City Hall - 2015
MOAT Gallery - 2015
Newton Cultural Centre - 2015
Opus Habana Magazine - 2004
Promotional video produced by Golden Brush Art
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