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Painting is silent poetry, and poetry is painting that speaks. Simonides

Josef Kote

Josef Kote

In 1964, a star was born. In the scenic port town of Vlore, Albania, modern master Josef Kote emerged eager to share his unique vision with the world. Yearning to be a part of something greater, Kote immersed himself in the arts early on. The atmosphere around him constantly inspired the young visionary. The vibrant metropolis of Vlore – a mélange of commercial industry and old world charm – was the perfect backdrop for an aspiring artist talent like Kote. The city’s handsome, bright buildings and glittering coastline provided Kote with an abundance of creative material.

Kote began a journey towards artistic self-discovery in his youth and never looked back. Like a moth to a flame, Kote was innately drawn to the blank canvas; paint flowed like blood through his veins. Discovering his artistic talent at the tender age of 14, Kote entered a competition to secure a spot at a prestigious art school. He was subsequently 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.

Desperate to turn his passion into a viable career, and knowing the importance of further training, Kote decided to take his talent to university. 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 inimitable style and ever-growing skill. With greater recognition, Kote was ready to embark on new horizons. 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 his work with greater warmth than ever before. In this new environment, Kote’s style evolved and flourished. His zest for life was evident in every brushstroke, and this inevitably left a mark on those he met, and the art-loving public at large.

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.

Despite his love of the sea, Kote could feel the wind of change in the air. Always looking to widen his scope, Kote moved to Toronto immediately following the infamous Stephanopoulos commission. Thanks to its ties to his Grecian home of more than ten years, Toronto proved an easy transition for the artist. Kote’s many admirers and respected colleagues in Greece were more than willing to lend a hand and extend their support to Kote.

Though he was not well known, Kote’s captivating canvases spoke highly of him. 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.

For the next ten years, Kote continued to garner critical acclaim. Though he was not a household name by any stretch, Kote’s career gained steam due to the persistence of avid collectors from all over the world. The artist saw his dream develop before his very eyes; the fruits of decades of labor fully realized.

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.

Allergic to complacency, the gifted, shape-shifting artist decided to move on before becoming trapped by stagnation. 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 there is.

Today, Kote still resides and paints in New York City. But who knows what beautiful permutations the future holds for one of modern art’s greatest voices

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