ACTIVATE: Market Street 5 Featured Artist Josama

Merging childhood familiarity with the many realities imposed. This collection blurs the barriers between popular fantasy and reality, to invite a wider view of what “is” – celebrating the illusion of life, death and dreams, bringing them together and erasing all boundaries.

It was the NYC streets corners, the barrios, the bodegas, the housing projects, and all the stories that they spawned. Those stories, Saturday morning cartoons and the elements of Hip Hop music that guided this series. All the pieces have an individual story to tell, a lesson to be taken. From “Alpha Male” starring the cartoon character Alf, Alfalfa and others, it’s a play on words and imagery conveying a story about that aggressive male energy. The “ShoeBox Business” blurs the line between innocent sesame street characters and the cocaine business that the Dominicans in Washington Heights dubbed the shoebox business. All these pieces bring color, light and magic to a grim gloomy situation. These paintings are like tombstones for a nostalgic time that has passed.

In a nutshell, these paintings are an exorcism of self in the human condition while soul searching. The battlefield is a canvas for the war waged within all of us, for we are extensions of each other.


LIFE IS BUT A DREAM…The poetry etched in Lewis Carroll’s 1903 poetic masterpiece so tunefully mirrors the essence embodied in the paintings of Josama. Josama was born Jose Antonio David in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City. Josama studied fine arts at Altos De Chavon, a sister school to Parsons in New York City. As only child, Josama was raised and artistically inspired by his mother, Ingrid Madera, the internationally renowned sculptor and artist. Josama’s childhood was nomadic; moving incessantly throughout various neighborhoods, boroughs, counties & states, including Manhattan’s Alphabet City, Chelsea, Harlem, Brooklyn Long Island & New Jersey.

Throughout Josama’s travels, he became largely influenced by Hip-Hop culture, primarily graffiti art and MCing. It was during the “die hard” era of New York’s graffiti scene where ten year-old Josama would lay his foundation as a visual artist. Within one year, Josama was keeping black books full of designs to be used for murals. Due to the near extinction of the graffiti train culture, Josama took a back seat to the declining art form and transcended his passion for the visual arts through oil painting. Josama immersed himself with his newfound love and began studying the works of various Renaissance masters, Mexican muralists and contemporary paintings.

The combination of Josama’s vagabond lifestyle, artistic upbringing and devotion for hip-hop culture, are the factors responsible for his unique artistic expression. Josama’s work can be defined as a living dreamscape that cross-pollinates historical moments with pop-culture iconography and everyday street life. Infusing elements of symbology, psychology and spirituality, Josama’s pieces are engaging and evoke a thought provoking analysis of the imagery conveyed.


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