Stone Harbor & Avalon, NJ
Born in 1964, in the scenic port town of Vlore, Albania, modern artist Josef Kote emerged eager to share his unique vision with the world. Kote immersed himself in the arts early on. The atmosphere around him constantly inspired the young visionary living in the metropolis of Vlore – a mélange of commercial industry and old world charm. This was the perfect backdrop for an aspiring artist talented like Kote. The city’s handsome, bright buildings and coastline provided Kote with an abundance of creative material.
Kote began a journey towards artistic self-discovery at the age of 14, Kote entered a competition to secure a spot at a prestigious art school. He was accepted into "The National Lyceum of Arts" in Tirana, where he began in earnest to pursue his traditional European Art school education. He studied there for four years.
Josef decided to take his talent to the university level. He entered another competition and was again awarded entry, this time at the "Academy of Fine Arts of Tirana." In 1988, Kote graduated from the Academy, receiving his Diploma in Painting and Scenography. The same year, Kote also produced a small but well-received animated film entitled "lisi."
Slowly but surely, Kote gained the respect of his peers and the art community at large for his unique style and skill. In 1990, he relocated to Greece and began working as a freelance visual artist. Kote absorbed his surroundings; the stark Grecian sunlight and lush Mediterranean landscape infused in his work with greater warmth than ever before. In this new environment, Kote’s style evolved and flourished.
During the decade he resided in Greece, numerous prestigious artists, as well as public and private collectors acknowledged Kote. His elevated status in the art world led to many great commissions. In the year 2000, for example, Kote was commissioned by the Greek community of Toronto to paint the likeness of the visiting President of Greece, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos. The more renowned he became, the freer Kote was to explore the far reaches of his vast creative mind. With every piece, Kote developed a stronger sense of color and more brilliant brushwork. His deft hand was evident in everything he touched.
Always looking to widen his scope, Kote moved to Toronto. Through his artistry, Kote was able to assimilate quickly and learn the culture and language of a place completely foreign to him. The lack of context for his current station in life made Kote’s work that much more profound. His gorgeous pieces resonated even with those unfamiliar with Kote; language barriers did not hinder the visual messages Kote was sending. As he continued to evolve artistically, Kote discovered another side of himself. He began painting with a more feminine, gentle touch, and a softer color palette. What began as an escape from the drudgery of everyday life had turned into Kote’s life force. Had it not been for the exceptional feedback from art enthusiasts the world over, Kote might have never been able to dedicate his life to his craft. But because of this positive reception, Kote’s passion transformed into a quest for universal success.
In 2009, he began his most recent artistic and spiritual journey, and for the third time, completely uprooted himself. He landed in The Big Apple, one of the greatest hubs for cultural and artist expression. Today, Kote still resides and paints in New York City. But who knows what beautiful permutations the future holds for this talented and unique painter who mixes abstraction to real life.
After A While
Jersey Shore Magazine, Fall/Holiday 2018, Cover