José Luis Ceña was born in Málaga in 1982. As he explained to Más de arte, his interest in art began when he was a child. “We all liked to mess around mixing colors and seeing the effect they had on different surfaces, like the walls of the house! I remember that in 3rd grade of EGB my parents signed me up for after-school painting classes with Don Leopoldo (a big, friendly guy who wanted to introduce me to watercolor). Classes with people of all ages.”

“Plastic art has always been my favorite subject and it was in 5th grade of EGB for the first time, when Ildefonso, my teacher at the time, approached my parents in a more formal way about the possibility of pursuing artistic studies in some art school.” The anecdote he tells when this happened is curious:

“They were my first two twenties, 10+10, obtained in two exercises of the subject; first and last! That was a huge encouragement for me. I still have those drawings made with manley crayons. There is something special in the paintings you do as a child that unfortunately we are losing in search of more academic learning. The fact is that my father decided, given the result of the previous experience, to sign me up for English classes. I think he was right because today I live from art and possibly if I had signed up for art school today I would be a linguist.

Ceña Paintings
Paintings José Luis Ceña

HIS FORMATION

As we said before, although he was born in the city of Malaga, he has lived in Spain since he was 15 years old, so he studied and graduated in Fine Arts at the Complutense University of Madrid. But his acquisition of institutional knowledge does not end there, because later, in 2001, the Royal Mint granted him a scholarship to specialize in Engraving and Graphic Design. This may seem to distance Jose Luis Ceña from what is commonly known as painting. However, the truth is that these studies only provided him with more tools to explore new fields within his artistic and pictorial interests.

Displaying that curiosity and restlessness that has accompanied him since he was a child, Jose Luis has also explored on his own, going through different artistic stages and giving rise to an extensive and diverse work.

Painting José Luis Ceña

He knows that painting always caught his attention, but he doesn’t know at what point he realised that this was the world in which he wanted to develop professionally. “Realising that I really wanted to make a living out of it, possibly after my degree is when you are forced to decide. You come out of the protective bubble that the faculty gives you and you realise that the real world is something else. Little by little you realise that the world of art includes many more variables apart from your enthusiasm and your desire to create”.

However, if there is one thing that Jose Luis Ceña is clear about, it is that “what motivates me to paint is necessity. For me, painting is a vital need, like eating and sleeping. It is something I need to be complete. I don’t know how to explain it very well”.

TÉCNICA Y ESTILO DE JOSÉ LUIS CEÑA

It could be said that Jose Luis Ceña’s usual topic is everyday life with a contemporary, costumbrist and independent touch. This is how he explained it when asked in Arte Miranda:

“My main influence and source of inspiration is the world, life. Every day countless events happen simultaneously. We have the privilege of being able to jump in space and time and, as if it were a play, place the characters on the stage and give them our script. A script open to multiple interpretations that encourages the spectator’s dialogue with our work.

The canvas is transformed into a timeless stage on which disparate stories and characters converge, who never coincided in real life but who, when united, open the window to a new reality that is decontextualised, imaginative and open to each of us to close the curtain with a tailor-made ending. Protagonists who are just passing through a dreamlike but plausible world”.

Paint Jose Luis Ceña
Ceña Paint
Artist Ceña

“Art has to transmit and move. That is, in my humble opinion, what lifts it to the category of art […] A work has to have content. But you should never leave aside the context, the language. It’s not only important what you say. How you tell it is what makes you different”. That’s how Jose Luis Ceña sees it. In fact, his art is immediately recognizable precisely for that reason, for his way of telling things that are full of everyday life with a different and personal touch.

If there is something that defines the art of Jose Luis Ceña, it is the constant evolution and, as he himself says, “the desire to investigate with new media means that, from time to time, you find solutions that modify your discourse”. And not only that, but your environment and the circumstances that occur in the life of each one also have to do in the way of seeing and creating. In that sense, Ceña believes that the fact of being a father has influenced, above all, his color palette.

JOSÉ LUIS CEÑA’S REFERENCES

As for Ceña’s references, the truth is that as with his work, there is also a lot of variety. “Andrew Wyeth, F. Bacon, Ramón Casas, Sorolla, Tapies, Millares… on a contemporary level, I’m quite interested in American painters because of their use of color […] The painting that interests me is the author’s painting, the one that brings something different, even if it’s more clumsy from a technical point of view. On many occasions we forget technique as a means to turn it into an end, and for me that is a big mistake”.

JOSÉ LUIS CEÑA’S CURRICULUM 

With a career like his, José Luis Ceña has participated in a multitude of fairs and exhibitions and has obtained many other awards and recognitions. The following is a summary of all this:

AWARDS

  • Premio Mostos Españoles en el XIX Certamen Cultural Virgen de las Viñas
  • Mención de honor y premio Artemiranda lV certamen internacional de retrato ModPortrait
  • Mención de Honor XVIII Premio de Pintura Fundación Mainel
  • Mención de honor II Certamen internacional de retrato ModPortrait
  • Premio Adquisición Mostos Españoles S.A. Xlll Certamen Cultural Virgen de las Viñas
  • Accésit XXVI Certamen Francisco Pradilla.
  • Medalla de Honor XX Premio de pintura López Villaseñor.
  • Accesit XXV Premio de pintura Emilio Ollero.
  • Premio Bodegas Lozano en el IX Certamen Cultural Virgen de las Viñas
  • Finalista y adquisición de obra V Concurso Fundación de las artes y los artistas.
  • Mención de Honor Certamen Nacional Pintura Parque del Buen Retiro. 2009
  • 1er Premio X certamen de pintura de Brihuega
  • Premio Grupo VII Certamen Nacional de Pintura “El Pincel Verde”
  • Premio “Casino Gran Madrid de Torrelodones” X Certamen Rafael Botí. Torrelodones.

FAIRS

  • 2021 Art Madrid. Madrid. España. Galería María Aguilar
  • 2019 ArtMuc. Munich. Alemania. Galerie Flash
  • 2019 LA Art Show. Los Ángeles. U.S.A. Galería John Nathsoulas
  • 2019 Just LX Lisboa. Lisboa. Portugal. Galería The Blue Ant
  • 2019 AAF London (Battersea Park). Iona House Gallery. Londres. Reino Unido
  • 2018 SCOPE Basel. Suiza. Galería Mercedes Roldán
  • 2018 Laussane Art Fair. Suiza. Galería Mercedes Roldán
  • 2018 AAF Hampsted. Londres. Reino Unido. Iona House Gallery
  • 2018 AAF London (Battersea Park). Londres. Reino Unido. Iona House Gallery
  • 2017 Gabinete. Madrid. España. Stand Museo Real Casa de la Moneda.
  • 2017 Fresh Art Fair. Iona House Gallery.
  • 2017 AAF Bruselas. Bruselas. Bélgica. Galería Jordi Barnadas.
  • 2017 Art3F Toulouse
  • 2017 AAF London (Battersea Park). Londres. Reino Unido. Iona House Gallery
  • 2016 Donostiartean. San Sebastián. España. Galería Ceferino Navarro
  • 2011 Art Madrid. Madrid. España. Stand Fundación de las Artes. Meam
  • 2009 Art Hotel. Cartagena. España. Galería Gigarpe

INDIVIDUAL EXHIBITIONS

  • 2021 “En algún Lugar”. Galería Bea Villamarín. Gijón. España
  • 2019 “NoWhere” Mirus Gallery. San Francisco. Estados Unidos
  • 2019 “Tierra de nadie”. Galería The Blue Ant. Madrid. España
  • 2019 “Overwater”. Galería Dionís Bennàssar. Pollença. Mallorca. España
  • 2018 “Wonderland”. Galería Alain Daudet. Toulouse. Francia
  • 2018 “Beautiful Disasters”. Galería Tales of Art. Imola. Italia
  • 2017 “Melancolía”. Galería Sunny Art Centre. Londres. Reino Unido
  • 2016 “Miradas”. Galería Jordi Barnadas. Barcelona. España

COLLECTIVE EXHIBITIONS

  • 2021 Detour·ArtHerning”. Kirk Gallery. Aalborg. Dinamarca.
  • 2020 At the edge of the realism” Kirk Gallery. Dinamarca.
  • 2019 Aletheia”. Mirus Gallery. Denver (U.S.A).
  • 2019 Figuración Contemporánea Española. Hoki Museum. Japón
  • 2019 Figuración Contemporánea Española. Museo Municipal de Saga. Japón.
  • 2018 Painting the figure now” comisariada por Walt Morton y Didi Menéndez .
  • Museo de arte contemporáneo de Wausau. Wisconsin (U.S.A)
  • 2018 Los jardines de Sorolla”. Museo Sorolla. Madrid
  • 2018 2nd bienal internacional de figuración. Galería John Nathsoulas. California
  • 2017 Honoring the Legacy of David Park” comisariada por John Seed (crítico de arte
  • del Huffington Post). California
  • 2016 International Figurative Biennale . John Natsoulas Gallery . California.
  • 2016 ” OPEN MIND ” . Essen . Alemania . Comisariada por LLEID’ART con el Real
  • Círculo Artístico de Barcelona
  • 2012 ” Mediterráneo ” . National Wetland Museum . China
  • Intercambio artístico con el National Wetland Museum of China.LECTIVAS