Albanian artist Josef Kote's works offer a refreshingly inventive spin on traditional subject matter. Kote knew from an early age that his passion lay in the realm of the creative and spent most of his childhood drawing and sketching. His work was entered in many local and national competitions which, ultimately, landed him a highly coveted place at the "National Lyceum of Arts" in Tirana. After graduation, he enrolled in the "Academy of Fine Arts" in Tirana where he was educated in traditional pictorial painting styles like those of the old masters.
"Newport Bridge" (36x54)
As a student, Kote longed to push the envelope, to break free from the constraining limitations of traditional academic painting. He began to play with the notion of the "unfinished" masterpiece, incorporating elements of abstraction and lyricism to his otherwise realist approach. He worked at a film studio during his time at university and dabbled in scenography academically as well as professionally. During his time at the studio, he produced and directed a well-received animated short film.
"At First Light" 48x60
He graduated in 1988 and began his professional career as a scenographer and set designer at the Petro Marko Theatre in Vlore, on the Albanian coast. This background and appreciation for Scenography and set design can be observed in the careful way Kote stages his compositions - the drama with which he imbues the tension between foreground and background, the lyrical nearly narrative setup of his subjects.
"Somehow It Felt Right" (64x48)
His calling-card as an artist is the interplay of light and movement, the blending of realism and abstraction, and his inventive use of color and brushwork. His work seems to shimmer and move, glittering with light. It is this unique approach that has made Josef Kote's career what it has become.
His work is widely collected and widely admired and resides in collections around the world.