Born July 7, 1965 in Guayaquil, Ecuador. He established himself as an illustrator in New York City, in 1997 he moved to Toronto, Canada. He has worked on art commissions for such clients such as Absolut Vodka, MTV, Apple Computers, Bloomingdale’s, Sony Music, Amnesty International and the New York Times. Jose has been the subject of numerous articles in international art and design journals and has received awards from organizations such as the Society of Illustrators, American Illustration, Print, Communication Arts and Graphis. Ortega has also designed and completed many public art commissions including a series of mosaic murals for two NYC subway stations and a stained glass window for the Buckingham Hotel. Ortega’s recent projects are a series of murals for the Dundas West neighbourhood in Toronto and postage stamp designs for the US and Ecuadorian postal services.
He is the co-founder and artistic director of Lula Lounge a performance venue in Toronto showcasing a diverse line-up of upcoming and established artists . Lula Lounge grew out of Open City, a non-profit organization which programmed and promoted many arts events including dance, poetry, visual arts and live music all hosted at Jose’s home. Lula Lounge has become ground-zero of Toronto’s exploding world music scene.
Jose’s most recent project is SMASH, a gallery of architectural artifacts mainly sourced and brought back from Buenos Aires, Argentina. SMASH also sells fine arts, books, and unique recovered objects.