Jose De Olio is a young artist who lives and works in New York City.  He’s a gritty photographer and also a bold and sharp painter.  I’m tempted to call him a typical, urban artist, but I won’t.  What inspires him?  Here’s our cool chat …

“… My main goal with my paintings is show the world that anything can be possible. There is another world besides ours and it just takes a small spark of creativity to ignite it ...”

MICHAEL: Hey Jose, First off, you seem to be very much a New York City artist.  How does the city inspire you?  Could you also be the artist that you are if you lived in Phoenix, Los Angeles or Chicago?

JOSE: Well, to tell you the truth, I haven't lived anywhere else besides New York City. With the everyday rush in the mornings and afternoons, it's something that really became an everyday thing. This life style and experience in the city has led me to realize my first photographic book called, “NYC FUZZ.”  The book is my interpretation of how New Yorkers live their lives.

It's pretty much about the constant rush and tunnel vision one experiences on an everyday basis. I notice sometimes that we just need to take a relaxation point and just notice the beauty around us. The book is currently free as an ebook if you sign up to my mailing list on my website,

I feel the city does have a major impact on me as an artist and on my style. Living here and seeing all of the graffiti and the grayness of the city really rubbed off on me.  I have noticed my photographic style is really bold, gritty, and sharp.  I would think my style would be different if I lived in another major city because as an artist, I pick up things unconsciously. It can be from sound, sight, and all other senses. I think our surroundings effect one as an artist.

MICHAEL: Jose, You definitely have range as a photographer.  I love the NYC FUZZ photos along with your abstracts and landscapes.  There are SO many photographers in New York alone.  What do you hope to capture that other artists aren't? 

JOSE: Thanks.  A lot of work went into the NYC FUZZ photos. Every artist has their own eye on the world. It's how you perceive it and are able to express it in the best medium you think. That is what makes every artist special. That's what I do. I see the world on a different plane of existence and with the tools available to me.  I’m able to interpret what I see for the world to take in and have a different experience.  So to me, it's all about the experience of the audience.

MICHAEL: Your paintings are urban and edgy.  They seem to follow a similar color scheme and style.  How do you describe your painting?  What inspires it?

JOSE: I really think my paintings are urban because of my upbringing. What really inspires my paintings?  Hmm, I would say life does.  What I mean by that is when I'm painting a certain piece, the vibrations around me are the flow I listen to.

So my paintings are a combinations of many different factors like emotions, feelings, sounds, smells and touch.  Many of the colors choose themselves. All I do is “listen” to the flow of the colors.  It's almost as if the color speaks to me and says, “Please pick me up and put me here.”

When I had my first solo show with all of the portraits I painted, it was called, “The Alter Egos of Jose De Olio,” curated by Peter Yip.  The whole purpose behind that show was to show all the uniqueness but yet cohesive style of the portraits. I would try to put myself in the shoes of the people I painted.  I was familiar with their work; musicians and actors and I would go with the flow.  It's a big roller coaster ride every time I paint and I LOVE IT!

MICHAEL: So many graphic designers like you are also artists.  What's up with that?  Isn't it enough to be a graphic designer?

JOSE: A graphic designer is also considered an artist. Just doing things differently. It's always good to be diverse. Because all artists run into artist’s block.  So when that happens, you can move to other sections of your profession until you are ready to come back. The more mediums you have to experiment with, the more the artist block wall comes down.

MICHAEL: I get a strong sense of music from your work.  Maybe Hip Hop, Rap or Dance music.  Am I wrong?  Does music inspire your work?

JOSE: Very much so, I'm a dancer, but it's more of a hobby. I dance house, break-dance and pop.  Yes, music does inspire me while I paint. I mainly listen to a lot of House music, Metal, Hip-Hop and Rap or when I’m in the mood, I look for some foreign music.

MICHAEL: Most people are still struggling to keep a roof over their heads and won't ever buy an original work of art.  So what's the point?  What good can art do for them?

JOSE: Sometimes art is not meant for everyone.  If the client can purchase it and they like the work, they will buy it. I've had clients buy some of my pieces because the colors match their house decor.

MICHAEL: Finally Jose, What are you trying to tell people with your art?  Is there a message?

JOSE: My main goal with my paintings is show the world that anything can be possible. There is another world besides ours and it just takes a small spark of creativity to ignite it. If you love to paint, keep doing it. If you have never done it before, pick up a brush and try it out and you will see the world in another light.

MICHAEL: Thanks for the chat Jose.

JOSE: Thank you so much Michael for this great chance to be interviewed. Thank you!

Check out Jose De Olio at