Artist in studio.
Jose Fernandes, a long time resident of New Orleans, was born in Angola, Africa, of Portuguese parents and raised in Lisbon. He started his American journey at the tender age of 18 with a tennis scholarship to South Eastern Louisiana University. Caught up in the frenzy of the 1980's, Jose took up Stock Brokerage at a small investment firm in New Orleans where he struggled for several years before turning to the arts to redefine himself. He took a short course in photography and with his 5 year old daughter as a willing model, he began to discover his eye. Fashion and its graphic imagery combined with iconic appeal seen in the likes of Irving Penn and Horst P. Horst were some of his early influences. In 1992, early in his career, he won an Alpha Award for a fashion campaign with All American Jeans. However, fashion soon lost its mystique and he took an eight year hiatus to sell furniture door to door in rural black communities on the North Shore of New Orleans. This period would last for the next 20 years. There he cultivated strong bonds and began to document his experiences.
In 2005, Jose dedicated himself full time to photography after documenting his and his wife Cecelia's walk through 6th and 9th ward the day after Katrina. That day marked the beginning of a journey that would lead them both back to Europe and would lay the foundation for their current partnership in Eight One Eight Contemporary Photography Gallery in the heart of the historic French Quarter of New Orleans, in GoZePa the mobile gallery found in the Frenchmen Art Market, and in C+J, their fine art collaboration which focuses on opening dialogs around social conditions and challenging learned perspectives.
Cecelia, who is a 6th generation New Orleanian, forms the C in C+J. She contributes her perspective as reflected in her experience growing up in the city's Black Creole community and her natural eye for dramatic effect wrapped in cultural context. In Eight One Eight she applies editing skills and grounds the work in its political significance, along with designing the custom handmade frames from recovered 100+ year old wood and showroom layout. She has studied painting, sculpture and videography. After Hurricane Katrina, Cecelia lived five years between Lisbon and Rome where she worked as an Artist, freelance stylist, and video editor before returning to the States and spending 4 years in New York. She holds a degree from New York’s New School for Social Science.
They started formally working together in 2013 with the creation of GoZePa, their mobile photography gallery which features an open series and focuses on accessibility and affordability in the Arts. 'Go' stands for the affirmative, forward motion. 'Ze' is Joe, the common man. And 'Pa' is the vernacular, the dialect of the people. In those first few years, the name became a type of mantra.
Shortly after, the couple began to work together on the image driven collaboration that gave rise to the C+J works. The focus falling on their shared experiences returning home to New Orleans after almost 10 years and witnessing the changes taking place and engaging in the struggles that many natives now face. Those works were part of the 2015 Ogden, Louisiana Contemporary Show, The 2016 Contemporary Arts Center show, A Building with a View, and the Louisiana Photography Biennnial of the same year.
Their latest endeavor is Eight One EightContemporary Photography Gallery, a project that is still in early infancy. The Gallery is located on Royal Street in New Orleans Historic French Quarter. There the couple hope to create a space of learning and communication through stunning visual imagery and intense narratives.
REVOLT--Transmissions from the social-political battlefield, Solo show, Photo Nola, Eight One Eight, New Orleans
Politico Pop Up 2016, Photo Nola, New Orleans Center for Art, New Orleans
Louisiana Photography Biennial, New Orleans Art Center
A Building with a View, CAC Museum, New Orleans
Unveiled, group show, Hyphen Gallery, New Orleans
2015 Group Shows
Politico Pop Up 2015, Photo Nola, New Orleans Center for Art, New Orleans
Louisiana Contemporary, Ogden Museum, New Orleans
FLAG, Sculpture for New Orleans, New Orleans
Que Bola Asere, New Orleans Photo Alliance, New Orleans
X: The Variable of Progress M-Studio, New Orleans
Prospect 3+, Imago Mundi, Luciano Benetton Collection, New Orleans Museum of Art, New Orleans.