Virtual Art Gallery: Nico Amortegui

About the artist:

Nico Amortegui, born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia, says his art is rooted in the experience of being an immigrant as he focuses on painting portraits of people who have defied the odds.

Amortegui says “I think it’s part of the ‘immigrant mentality’ in many ways – survive or die trying – that I identify with. It’s also important to me to celebrate the lives of people who have been change makers.”

Amortegui says he paints out of necessity, and follows in the footsteps of many of his family members who are architects, carpenters, interior designers, photographers, and artists themselves.

Amortegui says he has been creating art ever since he can remember, and recalls having numerous journals filled with doodles and sketches from his pre-teen years in Colombia.

“The first piece I sold was a watercolor piece at a street market in Winston-Salem for $20. I sometimes think about where that piece is now,” says Amortegui.

Since immigrating, Amortegui has lived and worked in the United States since the late 1990’s.

Amortegui says the average person may describe his artistic style as close to that of Picasso or Basquiat, and although he says they are inspirations without a doubt, his style is unique because it is about his perspective from his own personal experiences.

“It’s my voice painted on canvas. My style is original in how I visualize or think (and sometimes dream) of pieces and bring them to life. My style is high energy and organic in how I create. Art professors would label a lot of my work as neo-expressionist,” says Amortegui.

Before moving to Charlotte, Amortegui says he was doing photography and construction before art full time.

Now he lives in Charlotte with his wife, two daughters, and his chocolate Lab (his studio companion).

Amortegui says his favorite part about living in Charlotte it that it is an easy city to get around, since it’s neither too big nor too small.

Amortegui says in his free time he likes to work on his garden, build things for his house, cook new recipes, and make pottery creatures with his daughters.


Amortegui says his future goals include learning everyday and getting better over time.

Amortegui says art is important to him because “Art opens the doors to imagination, conversation, and ideas – and if we’re lucky, it finds your heart. It’s a part of everything around us in some way or another – from the clothes we wear to the furniture we sit on to the dishes we eat from. If given the space and opportunity, art can create compassion, amplify a culture, and foster community.” 

Amortegui says he continues to create art because for him it’s like having an itch that needs scratching and it’s an energy he has to release.

Anyone can support “Nico Arte” by sharing or engaging with Amortegui’s work and other local artists.

“A strong arts community means a vibrant city,” says Amortegui.

Amortegui says anyone looking to start a similar career must have no fear of failure.

“Being a creative and making a career of it requires a certain level of crazy, an annoying to obnoxious level of tenacity, no fear of failure (because you’re used to it…not everyone’s a fan), some level of business / marketing sense, and thick skin. To all the talented, creative, innovative people out there – dive in the deep end. I continue to create each day because there is no other choice. Making it a career is not for the faint of heart, but it suits me,” says Amortegui.

Anyone looking to purchase Nico Amortegui’s art can check out his website that has pieces for purchase out-of-studio or they can purchase his art through the Sozo Gallery or the Elder Galler in Charlotte. As well as a few of his ceramic pieces at ‘Green With Envy’ on Central Avenue.


Instagram: @nico_malo1

Facebook: Nico Amortegui