Today we’d like to introduce you to Jose Emilio Camacho Leon.
Hi Jose EMILIO, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
I’ve been doodling since I was 3-4 years old, the real turning point for me was when I was 8, I was watching my brothers draw anime characters from Dragon Ball Z. I started making my own characters and I eventually began challenging myself to draw other things. In middle and high school, I started taking all art classes at the same time developing a passion for music and worlds collided. I met my mentor Luis DeJesus, who is Puerto Rican, in New Jersey when I was 15, and he taught me how to play guitar and various instruments. In 2015 I was 20 and in a band and playing gigs around Jersey. I went to college for architecture and I dropped out to pursue being an artist full time. After a few years, I moved to New York and I began working at an art studio where I taught thousands of people how to paint and began selling artwork to people throughout New York for about two years before moving to California in 2020. Now I’m working at the top paint and sip studio in Los Angeles Joyful Expressions teaching public and private classes to multiple crowds and aiding the franchise of paint and smoke studio Mr.Paint and Puff in California. I’m Looking to branch out and eventually collaborate with different artists in the LA area and eventually coast to coast.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been a smooth road, a lot of my struggles were more of self-identity – understanding my place. I was trying to live up to my parents’ legacy, I wanted to do something that made them proud. We never came from money so when I dropped out of college, I knew even if I wanted to start up college again, I wouldn’t have the means to, so I had to learn to get my own and I started working really early and my parents provided what they could. I spent time trying to find my place as a mixed kid, understanding what being Puerto Rican in this world meant. I always felt outcasted and I walked to the beat of my own drum, I was very unique and different from an early age so it got in the way of making friends and that gave me an idea into how I should move and what I should be putting my energy into. I saw my life like it was a painting that you have to keep working on – and some parts you have to know to take more time until it starts looking like what you picture it to be, and sometimes you have to know when to be done with certain parts.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I am a visionary artist. I specialize in visually conceptualizing abstract thoughts and ideas through fine art materials, both tangible and digital. I am known for abstract surrealism and pop art paintings that highlight people within my lineage and will spiritually connect with those at a higher frequency. I am most proud of being consistent and having taught so many individuals how to paint throughout the years. What sets me apart is I’m confident in my art style, I move consistently, and I genuinely do this because it makes me happy – the viewer feels that and sees that when looking at my art. I also paint and illustrate a lot of cartoons because I’m a child within.
How do you think about luck?
As far as luck goes, I am lucky enough to have a family that loves me and supports me and has always encouraged me to be doing whatever I want artistically. I’m lucky to be doing this interview, I am lucky to be alive. And I’ll be lucky enough to continue prospering in this lifestyle I’ve chosen for myself. At the end of the day, my struggles are my blessings so it’s hard to see anything as bad luck.
- Instagram: @jec3
Photographer: Nanichi Oliva