Leo DeJesus Cortes was born on April 3rd 1980 in San Jose Costa Rica. His family immigrated to the United States when he was only four years
old. Leo grew up in the urban town of Chelsea Massachusetts in the greater Boston area. From a very young age he began to develop the
ability to harness visual and imaginative memory in order to describe and interpret the world as he understood it. After high school Leo received
an academic scholarship to Montserrat College of Art in Beverly Massachusetts. By the middle of his sophomore year his creative eagerness to
explore other places compelled him to return to Costa Rica where he began a long journey of self discovery. For six months Leo had been
culturally immersed in his home land and realized it was time to return to the United States. After returning he found himself yearning for
more travel and was eager to continue his journey. Despite the war, Leo decided to see the world through the eyes of a soldier so in October of
2001 he enlisted in the U.S. Army in order to see the ugly truths of war first hand. After five years and a tour in Afghanistan Leo decided it was
enough and once again returned to the United States.
"Every portrait, surreal painting, sketch, illustration or graphic is part of my journey through this life.
Let it continue, always embracing that which we don't understand but are eager to explore."
Leo D. Cortes
From the early stages of his artistic development Leo's work has opened a conceptual window into things beyond our
visual perception through the dynamic balance between realism and surreal art. The art of Leo D. Cortes is presented
through the everyday development of Leo himself and the existence of his beliefs, questions, and dreams that are
reflected through his work. Leo's destiny is no different from many others who walked the earth before him and many
others to come. To use a gift and influence society beings for the better by challenging us to think critically about
ourselves and our influence on the world. His art is about boundless consciousness that connects us all and encourages
the exercise of belief and imagination to control our own life and destiny.
This concept is one which Leo uses as a tool to sharpen his artistic, technical, and creative ability. It allows him to embrace the limitless realms
of his imagination by understanding that the outside is no more "real" than what we perceive with our mind's eye. Like dreams that seem real
enough to make us believe we are living them. Once we awaken, the dream exists only as a memory just like any other memory. This may
suggest that dreams are no more or less real than our awakened state, hence everything exists only as our minds perceive. Imagination
projection allows Leo to imagine a still scene of the subject matter he wishes to portray in his art while entering a state of complete focus. He
then developes the scene down to every detail in order to portray it through his art and using this heightened state of imagination.
Leo eliminates the reliance on models, photographs or other reference material when creating artwork.