We had the good fortune of connecting with Jose Enrique Montes Hernandez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jose Enrique, what role has risk played in your life or career?
If it wasn’t for taking risks, I don’t think I would be where am I today. My life has always been about jumping blindly into the next project or venture, and forcing myself into the unknown and I don’t really see that changing anytime soon.

Risks are important in my career. Taking that leap of faith for an artistic project is important; whether it’s successful
or not, it doesn’t matter much. It’s more important to go with my gut feeling and to just trust in it. In the end, I always feel like the risk was worth it, as risks always bring new opportunities, skills or perspective.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I started Arcade Art Gallery in 2016 with the mission of promoting the Lowbrow, Graffiti and Street Art Movements. To date, Arcade has curated numerous Exhibitions both in Taiwan and abroad. We’ve also collaborated with the Taiwanese Government to curate murals and public art installations throughout the city, and will continue to do so in the future.

But I actually got my start in the Arts back in Montreal. I was just lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, and surrounded by the right people. I was the personal photographer of well-known French Canadian musician, Jean Leloup, and also a fashion photographer under the pseudonym ‘MARQUISMONTES’, so I was definitely part of the scene, and got to mix with a lot of talented people.

In 2009 I met Louis, a Graffiti Writer/Curator from Montréal, who introduced me to the local scene.  With him, I had the opportunity to be part of many great exhibitions; ‘WILL RISE’ (7th Letter Crew) 2010, ‘Real As Fuck’ COPE2 2011, and ‘Saturation’ (Group Show) 2012; just to name a few. I also got to help host a ‘Meeting Of Styles’, and then the ‘Can You Rock Festival’.

Around 2011, I started to write for the infamous 120z Prophet website about the Graffiti culture in Montréal. Shortly after, I was introduced to the Yves Laroche Gallery, a Canadian gallery with a reputation for showcasing Lowbrow artists for over 25 years, a real OG in the game. Mr. Laroche saw potential in me and he asked me to join his team.  Yves taught me the ropes, and together we curated some amazing Exhibitions.

When I started Arcade Art Gallery, it developed more or less organically following the completion of my time at Yves Laroche. I knew that the scene in Taiwan needed this, and I also knew I could give exposure to the underground Arts culture and bring people together. I can provide a voice to talented, local artists who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to show work in ‘regular’ Taiwanese Galleries.

Don’t get me wrong, starting Arcade in Taiwan wasn’t an easy task!  I didn’t have any contacts or experience in Taiwan, and I didn’t speak the language. But with a lot of courage and determination we did succeed. I am proud of that path I forged on my own. In less than a year in Taiwan I went from having nothing but an idea, to shaking hands with the Mayor.

It’s like they said ; if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life …

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Of course I have to say Weiwuying ‘s Mimi Village, it’s a local neighborhood where we have painted more than 30 murals over the past few years, it’s like an open air museum.

If you come to Kaohsiung, you need to visit us at the gallery! We have created a space where young artists often hang out, so its a great place to get feel for the scene. Come to check out the art, and enjoy a cultural exchange of idea with other creative minds.
Best places to eat would be of course, Ding Tai Fung; the world famous Taiwanese soup dumpling restaurant but also any local Night Market! There great places to have a beer, browse around and try different traditional Taiwanese food.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
For the support and love; my wife Kelly Hogan My Montréal crew from Artgang; Louis-Nicholas, Alexis , Anthony (…)
Yves Laroche for mentoring me the Art business
And all the Artists that have trusted me to represent them via our work with murals and the Gallery.

Website: www.arcadeartgallery.com

Instagram: @arcadeartgallery

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/arcadeartgallery/

Facebook: facebook.com/arcadeartgallery

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2i9QBiBncYGb-rgR_clnaw

Image Credits
*courtesy of Arcade Art Gallery

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