From NFL to visual artist
As a small child growing up in Zaragoza, Mexico, Jose Portilla was consciously surrounded by nature’s beauty. It sparked in him a love of wildlife and the outdoors he carried with him to Houston, Texas, his new home at age 6. An interest in art and sports was also sparked for the young boy, and in high school, his athletic and artistic skills garnered him a scholarship to Ricks College in Idaho, where he pursued football and studied under renowned wildlife artist Leon Parson.
Portilla’s football prowess in college earned him several honors, including a scholarship to the University of Arizona and the 1997 Jim Ewing Memorial Award, given to the player who demonstrates outstanding character, scholarship, spirit, leadership and sportsmanship. Portilla went on to play professionally with the Atlanta Falcons and competed in Super Bowl XXXIII.
Now focused on his passion for art, Portilla works mostly with oils and pastels and is in the throes of learning sculpture. As his work attests, Portilla beholds beauty in the natural world. His artwork has been published in several magazines and has shown in many galleries and museums, including The Society of Illustrators New York, The Woodruff Art Center, and the Marietta Cobb Museum of Art in Georgia. He’s had over 12 solo exhibits in the last 11 years.
Portilla now calls Arizona home and will soon be represented by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale. See more of his artwork at www.jportillaart.com.