Chicago Artist Creates Minimalist Portraits Using Thick Layers of Paint

The works of Chicago-based artist Jose Lerma show that you don’t need a rich color palette, fine brushes, and precision to paint a portrait. Sometimes all it takes is a broom and a few strokes on canvas.

Lerma is known for his minimalist portraits that are created with thick layers of paint. These artworks are devoid of details and contain just a simple outline of the subject. But despite this, each piece manages to come out different and captivating.

While they may seem simplistic, Lerma’s minimalist portraits are actually quite complicated to make. According to the Puerto Rico native, who makes his own tools, the paint dries very fast, and he only has one attempt to make it right. If he fails, he needs to start all over again.

“The process of these paintings is laborious. I make my own paint and fabricate my supports. The material is heavy and unwieldy,” he explained in a recent chat with Colossal. 

Lerma’s unusual artworks have quickly found admirers in the art world and led to exhibit invitations from around the world. His portraits are currently displayed in Spain, with exhibits in Chicago and Panama being planned. However, in case you can’t enjoy them in person, check out more examples below.