Artist’s craft rooted in experiences of becoming an immigrant

Born in Bogotá, now Nico Amortegui colors the Carolinas

Artist’s craft rooted in experiences of becoming an immigrant
(Photo Credit: MOTUS Media)

The list of talented artists in Charlotte reveals a growing canvas of amazing color in the Carolinas.

Nico Amortegui was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, and has lived and worked in the United States since the late 1990s.

(Photo Credit: MOTUS Media)
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“My work is often full of unapologetic color and is a direct product of my expressed energy. There are no sketches or previous drawings,” Amortegui said.

“I work solely from in-the-moment energy and transfer what I see and feel on to the canvas.”

He is the product of a close-knit, artistic family filled with architects, carpenters, interior designers, photographers and artists.

“I learned by doing. My art is rooted in the experience of becoming an immigrant - something I didn’t want to imagine at age 17 when Bogotá was all I knew,” he said.

(Photo Credit: MOTUS Media)

There was a stark contrast between the life he and his family left in Colombia compared to the new life in the United States. During his early years in Bogotá, violence on the streets was exacerbated by the illegal drug trade.

Finding himself forever between two cultures has shaped his views and molded the themes of his pieces.

“I consider myself 100% Latino - equally Colombian and American,” Amortegui said.

As he begins each piece of art, Amortegui doesn’t have a starting point. He adds color, and with music playing in the background he begins.

“Brushstrokes work with the rhythms of things,” he said. “I start having a flow of energy.”

The vibrant colors he uses align with his friendly spirit.

(Photo Credit: MOTUS Media)

Throughout his art practice, he leans toward creating portraits of people who have defied the odds and were infamous or honorable in one lifetime.

Illustrating snapshots of a peripatetic lifestyle — that of his own, which was focused on survival while living undocumented, and of those encountered along the way most often takes over his canvases.

“A community’s history and roots are other themes that I enjoy learning about and painting.”

He also uses his art to tell stories about the challenges involved in migrating to the United States.

“The experiences I went through when I was young influenced me and this eventually led me to want to reach people through my art and connect the same way I connect with the art of other people.”

(Photo Credit: MOTUS Media)

During this Hispanic Heritage Month, Amortegui embraces the Latino roots and the legacy handed down to him from past generations of his family.

“I can’t imagine how it felt to my parents coming to this country. A new place. Not knowing the language,” he said. “I saw what they went through, and they taught me to never give up.”

If you have an inspiring story to share, email Kevin Campbell, WSOC-TV/WAXN-TV/Telemundo Charlotte public affairs manager, at