CORTES' FIRST COLLECTION
Cortes had an ambitious start to his painting career. He already had experience rendering in blackbooks and recognition for his aerosol techniques, but had no formal training in canvas painting.
In 1992 he prepared a collection of pieces for an exhibit with an art collective called Sol Concepts. The exhibit was called Metamorphosis and was a collaboration with his fellow A3 crew members, Greed, Gacha and Egrol. The show was meant to display the evolution of their street art into fine art. Cortes drew inspiration from hip-hop, fine art and his urban surroundings to form the art style that would define his career. The canvasses produced during this time period were featured in Hip Hop and graffiti magazines. One of his first pieces, Train No.7, fell into controversy and landed him on the cover of New York Newsday. His paintings were hard to categorize. Graffiti outsiders felt the his work was too refined to be considered graffiti but too street to be fine art. Cortes continued to carve out his individual style and prove that his work was ahead of it's time.
Cortes drew inspiration from Latin American culture to create the signature skull motifs in his boneyard collection. The human skull is a powerful symbol in both Spanish and indigenous cultures. To some ancient cultures, life was seen as an illusion. The after life was a positive step toward reality. Once you shed your physical form you reach a higher level of existence.
Cortes could identify with those ideas in his art. He felt modern life to be a superficial and illusive. The animated skulls, wisely judging from the beyond are symbols of the many Graffiti pioneers who have left their mark. Famous and anonymous artists alike, all share the same place in his boneyard. Cortes' theme is a celebration of life, rebirth and the permanence of the artist's legacy.
When a graffiti artist truly identifies with his tag, his lettering style speaks for itself. The designs breathe life to his name. Graffiti letters become the main subject of his work. In this collection Cortes allows the lettering to become the center focus of his composition. Linear motion and the flow of shapes activate the two dimensional surface. Subtle Color shifts, patterns and textures create the tone. Somber reflection is the objective of this collection.
Cortes always had a flair for political cartoons and editorial art. The pace of social media has forced artists to react much faster to a current events. So Cortes developed a watercolor technique to quickly express his views. The following is a collection of Cortes' latest works on paper.