Jose Hernandez stands apart for his vivid saturation of color, his ethereal subject matter and the calming presence of his art.
A visionary with acute perception, Jose ascribes his intuition directly to his near-death experience and there is a tangible power in his artwork. His works express deep sensuality and emotion, uplifting and transmuting this energy to transcendent forms of color and light.
Interpretation is central to Jose’s life and he has a rare gift to express the dramatic emotions and experiences of human existence with an insight that brings new awareness and understanding.
His works are appreciated for their originality and their intrinsic and real value and can be found in corporate and personal collections worldwide.
Jose has co-founded Immersive Arts LLP, a collaborative of art and design professionals working with health care organizations, corporations and individual and corporate donors. Together they create sanctuaries and other contemplative spaces, providing immersive living art to foster a calming, healing and centering environment that cannot normally be directly and immediately experienced from within the confines of interior work and healthcare care settings.
Jose is a member of the Association of Transformational Leaders and a member of the Advisory Council of Fundación Elisabeth Kübler-Ross México Centro. He currently lives in the Okanagan, in BC with his wife, Anastasia, and youngest daughter, Gabrielle, travelling regularly to speak on his NDE and on the subject of Art as a Conduit for Healing.
I created this art as a form of visual meditation. Every piece has a focal point that engages the sense of sight and draws the viewer into a “fourth dimensional” journey through the layers of the painting. Some pieces have literally hundreds of layers and, although you are looking at a two dimensional painting, it was created in a three dimensional digital plane.
My art is mixed media expressed in a digital format. I begin with my own photographs which I modify and layer, layer upon layer. One picture might have as many as two or three hundred layers. Digital technology is the closest I can get to replicating the power and 'life' of the color I experienced. When I am creating I seem to go into another space and have a strong sense of pulling the essence of the image from that place into this one. I know the image is complete when I feel it; I believe they each have their own life and energy.
One of the primary reasons I wanted to share this visual journey is that I wanted to try to share the sense of well-being and peace I experienced on the other side. I had a near death experience in 2000 after an accident at work and a mundane mistake by ER staff. I was clinically dead for just over five minutes. Being a complete atheist and skeptic, I fought for my life with every ounce of energy I could muster, but, I lost the battle. To my complete surprise I found myself in the most beautiful place; it was very painful for me to leave there and return. My art is my attempt to capture and recreate the beauty, vibrancy, and tranquility of the 'living' colors I saw on the other side and to bring the essence of that peace and love into this space.
I have done quite a lot of research subsequent to my dying experience into how color and art affect people and how modern medicine is now beginning to re-integrate art into the healing arena. While we are just now beginning to investigate the science of how the frequency of the light spectrum affects the physical, mental and emotional body, I am approaching this from the perspective of my own journey and attempting to share the healing quality of color and light that I am so grateful to have experienced. I was in hospital in a critical care unit for 3 months with every doctor telling me that I would not make it out alive. When I did finally leave I was told I had, at most, 2-3 years to live. That experience was more than 17 years ago.
I believe one of the main reasons that I was able to survive that experience is because I would escape from my hospital room by reliving my experience and basking in the colors I had seen. Via that memory, without any visual aid, I would take myself back into that place. In that space I found some escape from the stress and pain of my condition and relief from the fear and anxiety my prognosis held. That ‘soul flight’ and relief, very simply, is what I am trying to capture in some small way and share with everyone; that opportunity to escape to a beautiful and healing space, even if just for a few moments, enabling our body and spirit to renew and replenish and find a measure of peace.
Prior to that experience I had been an electrical engineer with a passion for photography for over 20 years; I always had a keen awareness of light, color and movement and a knack for composition. I grew up in the South Bronx in the 50's and 60's and our family had very little money. I didn't have art training; I definitely didn't see myself as an artist. My educational background is in electrical engineering which was a field I did not feel an affinity for. However, I see now how these life paths have come together to form the foundation on which I now stand. Although my art form is now very different, I can see how my life's journey is reflected in my art: it is still always and only about light, color and movement.
It is difficult for me to put into words the feeling of utter love and complete safety I felt on my journey, but that is my desire, to try to bring a taste of that profound love, joy and immense peace, through the portal of my paintings, into the lives and homes of the people who experience them here.
- Jose Hernandez