Julio Cesar Osorio

Lifetime Achiever Award: Sponsor - HSBC UK

Lifetime Achiever Award: Sponsor - HSBC UK

Nominee Profile

Location: London
I go by the artist name JulioCésartist. I aim to communicate the social inequities and express the need to balance social disparities found in society whether it be the vulnerable youth or the elderly population.
After growing up in my home country of Colombia and seeing first hand the underprivileged and vulnerable populations, my family moved to England. Like most foreigners in 1983, it was an adjustment for me and also for the people around me. I experienced prejudice and also acceptance, but sadly due to the name Colombia, I mainly experienced pre-conceived ideas about my country. One of the best things about not speaking a language and learning is the opportunity to fully appreciate and blend the colours of countries, languages, people and communication. Not speaking the language, and facing prejudice from others shaped my experiences and identity. In my late 20’s I attended university for photography & film to equip myself with the tools to document and bring to light the socioeconomics and plight of the vulnerable populations.

As a social artist, I have deepened my own insights into the vulnerable populations of society beginning in my home country of Colombia. Vulnerability is a topic that I have felt extremely passionate about from a young age while going through a humble childhood.

I have challenged the viewer with a photography project about the socioeconomic factors of childhood in third world countries. I had traveled for 5 years to document the vulnerable youth. The project had culminated with a photography book that is titled Work Play and No Rest culminating in donations to 2 orphanages (Beautiful Gate in Cape town and the Aldea Orphanage in Abancay, Peru). 5 copies of the book are now in the British Library collection. You can see some of the images at https://youpic.com/julioosorio6

My love of painting emerged unexpectedly in March 2012, while detained, following an altercation with a nightclub doorman. As I was without the cameras I had come to rely on for my creative expression, I discovered I could paint at the first chance I got to attend the education department and became a prolific painter since. I embraced the practise and discovered the therapeutical powers it has for healing and help balance one’s mind, which was of great help for me to get through the experience I lived and made me determined to pursue a career as a painter after my release in 2014, Two days after my release, I attended the opening of "We Are All Human" exhibition at the South Bank Centre, curated by the poet, writer, lyricist, and musician, Benjamin Zephaniah, who chose my painting Minuscule Beauty as the poster image for the exhibition.
Benjamin Zephaniah - Poet, writer, lyricist and musician.

"Julio is a cool cat. I became aware of his work when I used one of his paintings as the poster image for an exhibition I was curating on the Southbank in London. It was the stand out piece of the exhibition. His work is vibrant, intelligent, relevant, and quirky. I love his work. Welcome to his world."
As a prize, I was awarded a fine art scholarship from The Monument Trust, and I have not looked back.
I became an embassador to Outside In a catalyst for change. Founded in 2006, it is now an established national charity that aims to provide a platform for artists who face significant barriers to the art world due to health, disability, social circumstance or isolation. I also volunteer as a mentor and delivered courses in prison for offenders with only Connect a London’s creative criminal justice charity, rooted in community. Their vision is a more connected, human and just society, where we all choose a crime free life.

I have the privilege of being a member of the alumni group of The Prisoners' Education Trust (PET) as it is more than just an organisation – it is a community of learners, educators, and advocates working to transform lives behind bars. Every year, they empower 1,500 individuals to pursue their education and build a brighter future through the power of knowledge. Our alumni, all of whom have experienced the penal system first hand, serve as a living testament to the impact of education. They come together regularly, share their unique insights, and collaboratively work to overcome the challenges that exist within the prison system.
Before the pandemic the community connectors group from Southern Housing and I created and delivered a pilot of workshops for the residents of my state with the aim of building bridges between the isolated elderly residents, young people and their families, using art as a tool to integrate them and after six weeks it was a success, but unfortunately could not be rolled out due to the pandemic evolving shortly after. 

I have done talks online for the local group of painting appreciation of my local Age Uk.

I have also done talks in schools and with youth programs telling my story of how I overturned the negative experience of being detained to the positive outcome of becoming a painter and through out my life all my projects have been community driven.

As a result from the Golden Years project being spotted in a publication, I was invited to Dublin University by Yellow Window a European think tank, commissioned by the European Union and United Nations to research on the many issues in the pubic sector and social services that have came to light during the pandemic that were lacking or failing the elderly. Resistiré https://zenodo.org/records/5361042 was a three year project and had the great privilege to take part on the concluding open studio lab of the project with a group of researchers, service providers in the elderly sector and sociology university professors to analyse the projects results and brainstorm to come up with solutions for the existing problems to conclude the project with an extensive report to advise policy makers world wide on ways to rectify existing ones and advice for new ones.
Now, at a pivotal point in my career, I've received recognition for my abstract painting. In 2023, I was named the Most Innovative Abstract Artist of the Year by The LUXGlobal Excellence Award and the Most Innovative Freelance Abstract Artist of the Year by AI Global Media, during their Best in Business Awards 2023. These accolades affirm my dedication to pushing boundaries and redefining the abstract art scene. Inspired by the impact of the pandemic on internet pornography consumption/entertainment, which continues my tradition of addressing social issues through my art.
I've also been honoured with the prestigious Honorary Exhibitor award at the Visual Artist Association's Professional Working Artist Of The Year Awards 2023 for my "Golden Years" portrait series.