Jota Leal was born in a humble little town in eastern Venezuela, 38 years ago. He began drawing and painting at a very young age and never studied fine art. He attempted to sit in class as a child of six, but he ran away after being forced to paint plastic fruit and empty bottles. In 2001 Jota traveled to Spain and lived there, immersing himself in the history and technique of art. He then returned to his hometown in Venezuela, where he received the Caricaturist of the Year Award for 2003. His art follows the grand tradition of the great portrait painters of the past, as well as the more recent caricature masters. Jota's oeuvre is ranked alongside the likes of Honore Daumier and Otto Dix. His sense of humor shows the delicate whimsy of a Max Beerbohn or Al Hirschfeld, but with a more fully rendered painting style. His amazing portraits of The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, John Malkovitch, Al Pacino as Scarface, Babe Ruth, and others are classics of their kind. Jota has exhibited in Las Vegas, New Orleans, Denver, Los Angeles, Miami, and Taipei. He lives in Houston. James R. Cowan is an art dealer, publisher, and writer. He has worked closely with such major artists as H.R. Giger, Zdzislaw Beksinski, and Sebastian Kruger. He lives in Las Vegas, NV.
"In the hands of a lesser artist, celebrity caricatures can appear garish and even grotesque -- irreverent and offensive to both the star and their fans. Jota Leal, however, has a passion and affinity for his subjects that allows him to capture their essence in a manner that is both playful and insightful." -- Brett Maly, art appraiser and The History Channel's Pawn Stars art expert