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Interview with Colombian Photographer and Arts Manager Julian Montenegro

Credit: Julian Montenegro

Julian Montenegro has emerged as a pivotal figure within the contemporary art world. His work, which has drawn international attention, frequently headlines prestigious exhibitions throughout Colombia, such as those held at Universidad Javeriana, Centro Cultural de Cali, Galeria Magnate, Universidad de Cauca, and Lugar a Dudas. He also boasts participation in ARTBO, a renowned international art fair.

In the United States, his photography has graced galleries and has been celebrated by eminent institutions like the David & Schweitzer Gallery and organizations, including Us for the Arts and EOarts. Montenegro’s contributions to the creative sector are multifaceted, spanning beyond his photographic talent. His industry acumen is apparent through his association with the notable production house Buena Movida and his executive involvement in arts administration at Museum La Tertulia. Further solidifying his influence, he has played a key role in the growth of the arts nonprofit Lugar a Dudas, an initiative by the internationally esteemed Colombian artist Oscar Muñoz.

AV: How does your story begin? 

JM: I was born in Cali, Colombia in 1983, my fascination with the artistic side of life led me to explore painting techniques like watercolor, oil, and acrylic at a young age. This exploration naturally evolved into a passion for photography as a form of expression, prompting me to pursue formal education in the arts.

AV: What drove you to choose your creative field?

JM: My initial exposure to cinema sparked my interest in video and photography, motivating me to delve deeper into these mediums. 

AV: How did you choose your creative medium?

JM: While painting was my first love, I’ve always been captivated by the power of still images. Photography has become my primary medium for expression, allowing me to explore and document the world around me, but I have also applied my

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AV: What inspires your work, and what themes do you explore?

JM: Inspiration can strike from any interest at the moment, whether it’s aesthetic, political, or scientific. I don’t follow a set pattern; instead, I draw motivation from a wide array of influences across disciplines and themes.

AV: Could you describe your creative process?

JM: My process begins with a topic that piques my interest. Deep diving into these subjects often leads to creative output, demonstrating that inspiration is the fruit of diligent work.

AV: What message do you aim to convey through your work?

JM: I believe in the power of hard work over the notion of instant inspiration. My goal is to encourage viewers to recognize the value of persistence and dedication in the creative process.

AV: What’s your biggest career achievement so far?

JM: Participating in Seccion ArteCamara ARTBO and my solo exhibition at Lugar a dudas are among my most significant accomplishments to this day. My work as curator at Corporacion MACI and my position at La Tertulia Museum are also a great source of professional pride for me.

AV: Do you have any exciting upcoming projects?

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JM: 2024 is set to be a busy year with several exhibitions in New York and more projects on the horizon.

AV: What advice do you have for aspiring creatives in your field? 

JM: Success in a creative career is built on passion, hard work, and consistency. It’s crucial to remain curious and open to exploring a wide range of subjects beyond your immediate field.

AV: Facing challenges in your career, how did you overcome them?

JM: Maintaining focus on the creative process and understanding that significant time investment is necessary for achieving quality results has been essential. It’s easy to lose motivation without immediate success, but persistence is key. 

AV: For those looking to enter your field, what should they know?

JM: A genuine passion for your craft and an understanding that a creative career is built over time through consistent effort are vital. Diversification and continuous learning are also crucial for growth and success.

AV: Could you share some of your work and where people can connect with you?

JM: Absolutely! For the latest on my upcoming projects and exhibitions, please follow my Instagram account @clickphotographyny. That’s where I’ll be posting all the updates and behind-the-scenes content. I’m excited to connect with everyone there!

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Interviewed by Adana Vincent

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