Artist Spotlight: José Manuel Hortelano-Pi

By Christopher Harrity

Originally published on June 22 2013 4:00 AM ET

José Manuel Hortelano-Pi is an illustrator and portraitist born in a tiny town in the south of Spain in 1979. After studying fine arts and photography, he started to draw professionally in 2006. He currently lives and works in Madrid.

He is interested in a new and contemporary view of portraiture that connects via social networking and other methods of Internet collaboration.

Using watercolor — where lighting is particularly important to the paintings' composition — as his primary technique, Hortelano-Pi always attempts to unveil the flesh as a cornerstone of energy and humanity. He instills each of his drawings with intimacy and tries to catch the eye of the watcher with some gaze and flirtatious look.

The main subject of his two solo exhibitions, "Voy a Tener Suerte" ("I'm Going to Be Lucky"; Barcelona, 2011) and "Landscapes" (Athens, 2012), was the male body. And it was also the motivation to create his last work, DEN, a dialogue between the body and geometry materialized in three ceramics pieces and a digital video. (See the video on the last page of this portfolio.) You can learn more about him at

David and Miguel


Den Circle

Nando Back

Jesus en Sus Terraza

Jose Underwater

For Hendricks Gin

Tocho, Leti y Cándido


Den Triangle

Ross & Javier

Snoozy Doozy Coco

Alex Back

Den Square

Fran Right

Carlos Diez Beard


Runaway 2

DEN from Pi on Vimeo.