My name is Jorge Zapata, and art has been a significant and integral part of my life. I have explored various mediums, defining myself as a painter, illustrator, draftsman, and digital artist. I often describe my work as a “reconstruction of fragments,” merging and contrasting different elements, primarily photos and textures. I believe my artistic production resonates with abstract expressionism and the works of important collage artists such as Kurt Schwitters. My goal is to connect viewers with a unique visual experience, akin to a detective piecing together fragments to uncover hidden evidence.

In my painting-collages, I utilize visual elements from everyday life images to reinforce a communicative function. Additionally, my experiences in diverse locations have enriched my creative process. Drawing on multiple theories of signs, I’ve developed my artistic approach. Through collage, I establish communication via cultural signs by combining materials and images from different contexts, reflecting personal associations.

My own artistic journey has been shaped by the richness and contrasts of urban environments, which I recognize as part of my memory and artistic creation. Celebrations in new cities serve as immediate cultural references, and the absence of familiar cultural variables sometimes places me in a cultural limbo of confinement. Consequently, my identity is disarticulated by new realities, as cultural parameters become dissociated from my current circumstances. These elements find their way into my compositions, where time and space converge in a dissonant system of marks and signs.

Since 2008, I’ve lived in various places such as Iowa and Georgia in the U.S. and Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Adapting to new environments proved challenging due to the destabilizing nature of my cultural identity. Identity encompasses ethnicity, culture, and language, shaping social interactions and communication processes. Misunderstandings and difficulties arise when different ethnic groups with distinct cultural parameters coexist. Considering my cultural circumstances in new locations, incorporating regional aspects into my work becomes fundamental to both concept and form.

By integrating local visual elements from urban and rural contexts, I introduce images that become dreamlike components of personal memory. Manipulation and formal operations create a mysterious atmosphere, connecting shapes, textures, and colors into a mental landscape. These reconnected fragments offer viewers an unfamiliar experience, connecting them not only with geographical locations and cultures but also with a process and method. Icons and indexes are fundamental components of collage, establishing a relationship between the author and the public. My artwork becomes a channel manifesting itself in the form of reconnected fragments, with particular physical characteristics signaling moments in mind, presence, or memory.

Collage, as one of the most significant artistic inventions of the twentieth century, serves as a language and process, defining itself through communication media. Collage creates new visual vocabularies by rearranging elements of cultural memory. Derived from “frangere,” meaning “to break,” the idea of the fragment emerges in continental thought. From a linguistic standpoint, the piece and the gestalt establish communication and balance, where the meaning of one component influences the other. Collage becomes a signifying system where visual elements evoke meaning.

I reside and work in Medellin, a city internationally known for its transformation from a violent city in the eighties to a hub of street art culture. My artistic journey began in high school, where I developed an interest in comic books, rock album covers, and magazine illustrations. While initially studying architecture, I transitioned to the Department of Art at the National University of Colombia, graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2003. Subsequently, I obtained an MA from the University of Northern Iowa in 2009 and an MFA from the University of Calgary in 2015.

My exhibitions have spanned the globe, including venues such as the University of Antioquia in Medellín, The Nickle Galleries in Calgary, and international art fairs in Seoul, Korea, and New York. These experiences, along with residencies at institutions such as the Royal College of Art in London, have further enriched my artistic practice.