Karen-Trimble artist
Karen Trimble
March 15, 2018
Jennifer Gleason
October 24, 2017

Josef Kote


Influenced by many places where he lived, Albanian-born artist J.Kote began his journey towards artistic self-discovery in his youth and never looked back. From very young age, he was endlessly drawing and had the innate urge to create. By the age of 13, he had made up his mind to become an artist and devote his life to the arts. He focused on getting accepted into the finest art high school of his native Albania. Ultimately, after competing locally and nationally, he was awarded a coveted spot at ‘’National Lyceum of Arts’’ in Tirana.

In 1984, Kote followed this amazing feat by being accepted into the  ‘’Academy of Fine Arts’’ of Tirana, where J.K was educated in the traditional approach of the old masters. Even as a student he wanted to break loose of the limitations, he wanted to experiment and grow, sometimes leave paintings seemingly unfinished, shatter the boundaries of classic realism. While still in school Kote also worked at a movie studio and made a small but well-received animation film Lisi. In 1988, Kote graduated with a diploma in painting and scenography. The years of practice and his 8-year solid art education had prepared the young artist well to pursue his life’s quest of living and breathing art. It had set him on his lifelong journey to find his own unique style and language, to create stupendous paintings pulsating with the light and energy that he sees all around him.

Kote began his professional career as a scenographer at the Petro Marko Theatre in Vlore, but in late 90-s, the 26-year-old artist grew restless and decided to debark to Greece, where the warmth of the Mediterranean sun and brilliant light infused his paintings in tone and style and lent them a more impressionistic air. Highly respected, the young artist did well and received many important commissions,  including in 1998 painting ”The Meeting of the Leaders” for the Hellenic Cultural Union in Thessaloniki, which depicted the Assembly of the Founders of Modern Greece, and a portrait in 2000 of the former president of Greece, Konstantinos Stephanopoulos, for the Greek community in Toronto. After a very successful ten years in Greece, Kote was weary to rest on his laurels, and he moved to Toronto. Already renowned for his beautiful portraits and scenic paintings, Kote now garnered additional kudos for his gorgeous urbanscapes and snow scenes.  His color and style moved away from the impressionistic influence toward a more expressionistic feel. The paintings from this period, many of them masterpieces, are a clear indication of the continual development of Kote’s style and his fluidity and growth as an artist. Thanks to a host of avid collectors worldwide Kote saw his dream and years of labor come to fruition. Achieving this goal, however, only made him strive for higher ones.

Like a rolling stone, Kote moved to New York, The Big Apple, in 2009.  Here his paintings and style morphed again. The colors grew bolder, and his style became so unique that it cannot be ascribed to an existing genre. This highly prolific painter, who works on his craft almost daily and long hours, is never satisfied, always seeking, always experimenting, and always growing. Only the future will reveal the great heights his art will ascend. Certainly, one thing holds true for all of Kote’s masterworks: they capture shimmering moments in time and space and are filled with light, energy, and love for whatever subject he chooses to portray. 

Josef Kote’s collection at Stravitz Art Gallery