Jose Mertz: Artist Emeritist
|One of my close friends said that when I was born I walked out of the St John’s hospital delivery room in Queens’s nd picked up a pen and threw up some dope graf on the hospital wall. While that might be a little exaggerated I began drawing way early and continue in the visual today. By the age of five my family jetted to Miami where I grew up in the middle of dirt roads, never ending high ass swampy grass fields and mad lizards and shit. But I just kept working the pen and hanging out with the graf heads. What helped the art a lot was spending high school at the New World School of the Arts back in 1995 and gong to Maryland Institute College of Art where I took a BFA in 2002.|
Neither of my parents was born here. My mother was born in Havana and my father was born in Lima, and like a lot of new comers to the USA we were mad poor. So there didn’t begin to be enough money to spend on any art education. So I hustled up some grants. I got the National Presidential Scholarship in 1998 as well as the A.R.T.S National Award and the Thailheimer Scholarship. I also got the 2001 Winsor Newton Grant (didn’t get any money but got a shitload of paint). I also got the1998 Miami Talent Search award that also was short on cash but good for the props.
But before going on about all this artwork, I need a minute to talk a little about my meditation background. I’ve been meditating for a about five years, having started at one of the free classes provided by one of Rama’s students. Since that time I have expanded my practice. I went through the MKP training as well as attending the intensive Hollow Bones retreats conducted by Junpo Dennis Kelly. Having completed his requirements I was ordained as a Lay Brother in the Hollow Bones order. I like to teach, having taught art on a number of occasions, so I decided that I would learn to teach people to meditate. Stan arranged to train me and I’m assisting him with his meditation workshops. And since I speak Spanish, we are able to work with non-English speaking people from the community. Now back to the arts.
During school I was in a number of exhibits. In 2000 I showed in Art In America Traveling Show- Baltimore, Chicago and Toronto. During my junior year I was one of the seven that qualified for the New York studio program. During that year I exhibited in New York Studio Program “Off the Chain”, the New York Studio Program Alumni Show. Returning to Maryland for my senior year I exhibited at the Maryland Institute College of Art Grad Exhibit as well as the “Neil Admirari / Be Surprised by Nothing” -Baltimore, MD
After I graduated and came to New York I exhibited at the “Stream” Rare Gallery down in Chelsea. I completed a piece that showed at Exit Art last November (2003). During March, Exit Art will be selling some of my drawings at the Armory Art Show here in New York. Last year I joined the Peace on the Street staff and completed the design for their new mural. One of my current tasks for Peace on the Street is to design and produce a series of products (caps, tee shirts, sweats etc) with the Ultimate Karate USA theme and logo to provide their students.