There was a romantic period which started in Italy starting in the 14th century. It was known as the renaissance, in Spanish “el Renacimiento,” or rebirth. This artistic style lives on in the art of the Renaissance Man of the Coffee Region, Jose Alonso Loaiza.

Renaissance Man

We met with Jose Alonzo Loaiza in Il Tazzioli, an Italian style coffee shop on the upper ramparts of Colombia’s tallest cathedral. The church has a couple different names, the Corredor Polaco, or Cathedral Basilica in Manizales.

This is a very typical meeting place for much of the city’s, leadership, their elite and much of the business class, the cafe gives tourists and visitors wide sweeping views of the traditional architecture and main plaza of el Centro, or the downtown financial district.

Renaissance Man

It was the perfect setting to learn about his art, its influences and the spirit behind it. We chatted about tango, the recent elections and life. As always he regales us with recent stories or events with a certain drama and electricity that feels appropriate to the setting.

A true Manizales native, his clothing is high quality, carefully matched and neat as a pin. His beard and hair are trimmed, he wears large rimmed sunglasses and he is at ease in the upper deck of the Cathedral, a place from which he draws inspiration.

Jose Alonso Loaiza – Painter

A self-made artist, Jose Alonso was never part of a formal art program or training school. Instead he learned from his own personal studies of an art style which appealed to him more than any other, the Italian Renaissance. He cites Michaelangelo, Raphael, Donatello and Da Vinci as his greatest inspirations.

Countless hours were spent poring over texts and picture books related to these artists and their stylistic techniques. More than 35 years of his focused attention has been patiently dedicated to studies of the human body, nature, astronomy and science.

Art Perspectives

In his own words, Alonso sums up his perspective of art in the 21st century.

Lo que respeta el arte siglo 21 vendrá todavía con unas propuestas aún más beligerantes, mas usadas, un poco más atrevidas. Pero toda de la vida es cíclico, estoy completamente seguro de que regresaremos a los pilares del arte. En mi caso la pintura, devolveremos al dibujo, al la composicion, al un muy buen atmósfera, al equilibrio permanente de puedo observar un cuadro o una pintura que no nos emociones, que nos despierte alguna sensación. 

Jose Alonso Loaiza

“In respect to 21st century art, the proposal is now more belligerent, more used, a little more daring. But all of life is cyclic, I am sure that we will return to the pillars of art. In my case, painting, we will return to the drawing, to the composition, to a great atmosphere, to a permanent balance of I what I can observe in a painting, a painting that does not simply excite us, but which awakens in us some sensation.” – Jose Alonso Loiaza (translated)

Interviews with a Renaissance Man like Jose Alonso, served to awaken the deeper sensitive side towards art. His perspectives are always very carefully evaluated. And yet, somehow, they always manage to bring about a deeper observation in ourselves or the subject matter.

His Inspiration

Since childhood, he has been fascinated with the Renaissance Era, and the cultural phenomena that it saw. Also in the science, astronomy and the anatomic study of the human body which came about during this time. This is what ultimately Influenced his own art. His favorite artists include:

  • Michelangelo 
  • Leonardo Da Vinci
  • Donatello

For hours he pored over books that show and observe the great artists of his favorite era. A self-taught artist, he learned through observation, mimicry, reading and more than anything – his own attempts.

In his own words, his greatest Inspiration, as an artist is…

“Life, and all that she has. Opening a great parenthesis, The Woman. That is what gives us life in this dimension. The woman who takes us, robs us, but also gives us our dreams. The nature is they accept us, they support us, they have compassion for us.

– Jose Alonso Loaiza

His Muse is…

“Good wine, a good dance, and white canvas muse that catches me to flirt around with what lines and what color I am going to put onto it. Also “thought,” a good gathering of friends. But I have to highlight my daughter. My daughter, since she was born, became my lantern, my signal of light, so I know where I am going. My compass that marks my north.”

Weekends will often find Jose with other music aficionados, dancing tango – another fascination of his, or in a traditional bar chatting with friends. A typical work week will include time spent painting, attending local cultural events or spending time with family.

In this interview, Jose Alonso reveals a depth of thought which is that driving force that becomes art which changes the world, or our own environment. In times of struggle, art seems to be even more present.

Our support is essential. Art is about more than driving the local economy, its about awakening deeper thought and consideration within us. Art is more than entertainment and culture, it is about creating dialogues which become creative processes, spontaneously provoking action.

Advice to Up and Coming Artists

As a new generation of artists are formed, mentorship is vital. Yet, at the same time, in his perspective, art schools often tend to “Influence” the art of the individual.

He assures us that the self-taught artist who dedicates himself, has the same potential as one who goes to school. He also cautions against being focused only on one discipline, teacher or concept. Exploration is vital. Each student must also find his/her own structure.

Learn From an Expert

One of the hottest travel trends in 2020 will be knowledge or acquiring new skills. And, this is no exception. Jose Alonso is offering afternoon workshops where up and coming artists can come and experience his unique perspective.

Jose Alonso Loaiza

For more information, to commission your own piece, or to participate in your very own private workshop, email us at CoffeeAxisTravel@gmail.com.

A Thriving Art Scene

It is no mistake that we have world acclaimed artists such as Jose Alonso Loaiza in the Coffee Region. In fact, he is only one of many artists who often have to travel to the exterior and show their art in order to find a good market for their talent. When you purchase art such as this you helping us build a strong “economia naranja,” or culture-based economy. 

It is our mission to help educate travelers about the culture and opportunities which abound in Colombia. This is your guidebook to all things to find, do and experience in the Coffee Region. 

For more information, or to learn how you can experience culture tourism through the eyes of this talented artist, email us at CoffeeAxisTravel@gmail.com.