My Story


Born, blessed with a creative gift, and the name Leonardo, I realized it presented a big responsibility!

Some forty-odd years ago in Medellin, Colombia, it was a time at the height of the cartels when violence raged across the country and permeated the families and the entire society. No one was spared.

As a sensitive child growing up in this violence and also being bullied, art became my escape.  In spite of the tremendous chaos, I grew to conquer the fears and obstacles to appreciate the beauty of my people. Those early years showed me that we all dealt with physical, emotional or psychological pain but that the resilience of the human spirit prevailed.

In the community where I grew up, I was surrounded by a loving group of strong, supportive women who provided me with an important perspective on the notion of family. My respect and admiration for women developed from this support and remains strongly anchored and reflected in my work as an artist.

The process of becoming an artist was very organic for me. As a young dreamer, I developed a fascination for the human form, superheroes, and Greek mythology.

Subconsciously, I have pushed forward to relentlessly pursue my career.  Being born with an innate artistic talent has allowed me to conquer the emotional and economic adversities I faced throughout my life.

After immigrating to the United States from Colombia, I was compelled to become a passionate ambassador for my people and culture.

Common themes represented in my art are cultural diversity, gender equality, and the empowerment of women.  I can offer my unique perspective to these subjects that remain close to my heart.  Portraying the uniqueness and strength of the individual allows me to speak to the sameness of our humanity in parallel to the beauty of our cultural differences. I do this with a deep sense of respect and admiration for what we share and what makes us different.

I believe that the universal language of the arts can break through cultural and personal barriers bringing us closer together as human beings.

Throughout art, I have found my voice and a way to connect with the world. Now, I invite you to discover and engage with my work.

Leonardo Montoya



Leonardo Montoya was born in Medellin Colombia in 1972. Since his childhood, he has expressed a deep interest in art and the human figure. At the age of eleven, he began his formal studies of drawing and painting. In 1985 He entered the Eladio Vélez School of Fine Art in Medellin, Colombia, where he learned different art techniques.

 Leonardo was Valedictorian of his High School class of 1990, and a year later, he had his first art exhibition in Medellin, Colombia. In 1992 he won his first mural commission at the Cinema Las Américas in Medellin, which is still, after 31 years, on exhibit today. From 1991 to 1994 he published a series of drawings in the newspaper El Colombiano of Medellin.

 Leonardo returned to Eladio Velez School of Fine Arts in 1994, where he studied advertising and photography for four years. From 1995 to 1996 he taught art at the National Academy of Arts in Medellin and worked as an illustrator of medical books for the University of Antioquia.

 Having immigrated to the United States in 1998, in spite of  economic hardship and instability, Leonardo began to chase the American Dream and never once did he lose his interest in art. In New York City, he worked with interior designers and participated in numerous art exhibits.

 Moving to Florida in 2001, Montoya was awarded the first prize winner in the Hispanic Heritage poster contest in Tampa, FL in 2002 and again in 2007. In 2004 and 2011, he won the second prize in the same competition.

 In 2010, he had the opportunity to study classical drawing at the Grand Central Academy in NYC. There he studied hyper-realism with instructors such as Jon de Martin, Joshua LaRock, and Scott Waddell, a turning point in his work as an artist.

 In  2015, Montoya began a series of exhibitions with his Diva collection, a work that highlights the character of the female figure and features vibrant colors and three-dimensional effects. The Diva Collection is  based on experimental and mix-media art.

 A great year for Montoya came in 2018 when he had the opportunity to be part of an international exhibition in the United Arab Emirates at the Ras Al Khaimah fine arts festival, where he was awarded the title of Artist of the Year.

In  2020, he won a residency as an artist in Ras al Khaimah, Emirates with the Al Qasimi Foundation; because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the residence period took place from January-April 2021.

Currently, Montoya is a part of another residence period at Bailey Contemporary Arts in pompano Beach, Florida. He was awarded a grant from the Broward County Cultural Division; this award will help him in an upcoming solo art exhibition in 2023.

Leonardo Montoya CV

4451 NE 15th Ave Oakland Park, FL 33334 * (954) 861-8888


  • Figure drawing with Jon de Martin. Grand Central Academy of Art. 2010 NYC, NY
  • Portrait drawing & painting atelier with Joshua La Rock & Scott Waddell. 

      Grand Central Academy of Art. 2010 NYC, NY

  • Art, publicity & photography. Eladio Velez Art School . From 1995 to1998 Itagui, Antioquia. Colombia
  • Art workshop. School of fine art Eladio Velez. From1986 to1989 Itagui, Antioquia.                                      Colombia
  • Kids workshop art lessons EEPP.1984 Medellin, Antioquia. Colombia


  • Fin! Artist in residence exhibition. Jun 2023
  • HOTspots art exhibition. Wilton Manors, FL May 2023
  • 5th Art+Stroll art exhibition. Fort Lauderdale, FL Apr 2023
  • Women online exhibition @ HMVC Gallery NY Mar 01- 2023
  • Wanderlust, online exhibition @ Art Fluent Jan 19th 2023
  • Men Painting Women @ BaCA pompano Beach, FL Jan 6th – May 24th 2023
  • Artist of the month @ BaCA A!R program October 2022 Pompano Beach, FL
  • Journey to the Middle East exhibition. Oct 2022 Abu Dhabi, UAE
  • Viva Fort Lauderdale September-October, 2022 History Fort Lauderdale Museum, FL
  • Men painting women August-September, 2022 The Art League of Daytona Beach, FL
  • TO’ clock with Rei Giraldo. March 2022 Miami, FL
  • RAKFAF 2022 exhibition. Feb. 04- Mar. 31, 2022 UAE
  • Art is Life! Miami. Art Basel week. Dec. 01-08 Miami, FL
  • Laguna art Gallery. Icons virtual exhibition. Sep. 1-30 Laguna Beach, CA
  • Happiness virtual exhibition. Sep. 2021
  • Al Qasimi Foundation Art Studio Apr-May 2021 UAE
  • RAK Fine Art Festival Feb- Apr. 2021 UAE
  • Gallery 500 exhibition July- August, 2020 Daytona Beach, FL
  • Men Painting women July-August, 2020 Orlando. FL
  • RAK Fine Art Festival Feb.-Mar.2020 UAE
  • 53rd Founders Juried Awards Exhibition. Dec 6 – Jan 9, 2020 Naples, FL
  • Permanence. Valencia Coverings. Dec 04-Dec. 08 2019 Miami, FL
  • Art in Unusual Places. Bailey Memorial. Nov.14- Dec 14 2019 Tamarac, FL
  • Tin RX pharmacy Featured artist. Sep 28, 2019 San Francisco, CA
  • Colombian Consulate exhibition. Sep 16- Oct 30 Miami, FL
  • Heroine collection exhibition. Claudia Castillo’s art studio. Aug. 3- Sep.6    Wilton Manors, FL
  • Diva Collection solo exhibition. Spanish River Library Aug.1- Sep. 9, 2019    Boca Raton, FL
  • Ted Art works 5 year anniversary, Mar 10 – Apr 15, 2019
  • Ras Al Khaimah fine art festival, Feb. 14 – Apr. 20, 2019
  • Art Fort Lauderdale Jan. 24 – 27 2019
  • Unusual Frida Dec 07, 2018 Orlando, FL
  • Contemporary Venice, Italy Dec 05- January 11 2019
  • Bubbles & Pearls exhibition Aug- Sep 2018
  • Ras Al Khaimah fine arts Festival, RAK Museum Feb 16- Mar 02,2018 UEA
  • Housing Works, Shop & Gallery. Feb. 10, 2018 Miami, FL
  • Art Fort Lauderdale, January 25-28, 2018 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Nude-nite. Nov.09-11/2017 Wynwood Miami, FL
  •  Tower Club art exhibition. Nov. 2017 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Pop-ism. Tedd’s Artworks Gallery. Nov.04- Dec.12/2017 Wilton Manors, FL
  •  Artvision Store art exhibition. Jun. 12 -Oct 15/2017 Miami, FL
  •  Curators Voice Art Projects Juried show. March 23-28 /17 Wynwood Miami, FL
  •  30 Years of Hispanic Art. Tampa Bay History Center. Feb. 16/2017 Tampa, FL
  •  Share Art Pop Up Gallery. Nov.26-Dec.26/2016 Art         Basel Miami, FL
  •  Solo exhibition at Douglas Elliman lobby. Sep.-Oct.2016 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Artopia III “49 Souls” donation. NSU Museum. Sep.24/2016 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Art-Rageous. Tedd’s Art Works Gallery. Jun. 6-Aug.5 /2016 Wilton Manors, FL
  •  Solo exhibition. Art Serve Gallery. Apr.2016Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Bravo, solo art exhibition. Art Serve Gallery. Jan.2016 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Hope Help Nepal. Art Basel Spectrum. Dec. 2015 Miami, FL
  •  Artopia II NSU Museum. Nov. 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Bold & Beautiful. Atlantic Hotel. Nov. 2015- Apr.2016 Fort Lauderdale beach, FL
  •  Art exhibition at Vu new River lobby. Fall-Winter 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Art exhibition. 2013 Gallery. June 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  •  Red Eye exhibition. Art Serve Gallery. Jul. 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Tampa Hispanic Heritage poster contest. Sep 2011 Tampa, FL
  •  XO Gallery exhibition Jan- May 2013 Wilton Manors, FL
  •  Poster commission for St. Petersburg College Hispanic Heritage celebration. Sep. 2007 St. Petersburg, FL
  • Arte de America Hispana. Hispanic yellow pages poster contest. Apr.2007 Tampa,FL
  •  Heliconias print commission Tampa General Hospital. Jul. 2007 Tampa, FL
  •  First Hispanic-Latino Heritage month. Allstate Center. Oct.2006 St. Petersburg College, FL
  •  Free lance artist at Art Inheritage Inc. 2004-2005 Tampa, FL
  •  Art consultant at Pacheco’s Art Gallery. 2003-2004 Ybor City. Tampa, FL
  •  Festival Calle 8 Kiwanis Club of Little Havana. Nov. 2003 Miami, FL
  •  TECO’s Latino art exhibition. TECO Hall. Oct. 2003 Tampa, FL
  •  Art exhibition 2nd Annual Die de Asturias. Centro Asturiano. Sep.2003 Tampa, FL
  •  Orlando Hispanic Heritage poster contest. Nov. 2002 Orlando, FL
  • Tampa Hispanic Heritage. West Tampa Convention center. Sep. 04 2002
  •  2dn Religious art exhibition of Hispanic American artists. Wallace Hall Park Ave. Oct. 2000 NYC, NY
  •  Religious art show. Auditorium Diego Echavarria.Apr.2000 Itagui, Ant. Col
  • Itagui artistica art show. CAMI Oct. 1997 Itagui, Ant. Col
  •  Annual art show Auditorium Diego Echavarria. Jul.1997 Itagui, Ant.Col
  •  Art show at El Castillo Art Museum. Nov. 1996 Medellin, Ant. Col
  •  Annual art show Auditorium Diego Echavarria. Aug.1996 Itagui, Ant. Col
  •  Art teacher at National Academy of Arts.1995-1996 Medellin, Ant. Col
  •  Annual art show Auditorium Diego Echavarria. Aug.1995 Itagui, Ant. Col
  •  Art Show at Las Americas movie theater. Sep. 1994 Medellin, Ant. Col
  •  Art show Flowers Festival at C.C. Villanueva. Aug. 1993 Medellin, Ant. Col
  •  First art show at Torremolinos bar. Mar. 1991 Envigado, Ant. Colombia


  • Artist-in-Residence program. BaCA Pompano Beach, FL Oct/22 -June 2023
  • Artist-in-Residence program. RAKFAF UEA Feb -Apr 2021 UEA
  • Winning artwork for the 2018 RAKFAF Artist of the year. UEA June 2018 
  • Second place winner Hispanic Heritage poster contest. Tampa Museum of art. Oct.2011 Tampa, FL
  • First place winner Arte de America Hispana. Hispanic yellow pages poster contest. Quorum Hotel. Apr.2007 Tampa, FL
  • Second place winner Hispanic Heritage poster contest. West Tampa convention center. Sep.2004 Tampa, FL
  • First place winner Tampa Hispanic Heritage poster contest. West Tampa convention center. Sep.19 2002 Tampa, FL
  • First mention winner at Itagui Artistica art show. CAMI. Oct.1996 Itagui, Ant. Col
  • First place winner of the Movies History mural commission. Las Americas movie theater. Oct.1992 Medellin, Ant. Col


  • Observica Magazine 12th publication. Sep. 09 2021
  • Expat Aktuell interview. May 02 2021 UAE
  • Religion documentary. YouTube Apr. 23 2021UAE
  • Correo del Golfo interview Apr. 27 2021 UAE
  • Reflecting Artist-in-residence journey interview. Apr. 22, 2021 UAE
  • Expat Aktuell. Virtual interview Mar.19 2021 UAE
  • Correo del Golfo. Newspaper interview Feb 12 UAE
  • New Pelican newspaper add. Aug.2019 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Correo del Golfo newspaper interview Mar.2018 UAE 
  • Khaleej Times newspaper interview. Feb 2018 RAK Emirates
  • Forum. Atlantic Hotel Exhibition. Feb. 2016 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Gold Coast magazine interview. Nov. 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Sun Sentinel newspaper. Red Eye Exhibition. Jul. 2015 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Sun Sentinel newspaper interview. Feb.12/2013 Fort Lauderdale, FL
  • Centro newspaper interview. Sep. 2011
  • Hispano USA newspaper interview. Oct 2002 Tampa, FL
  • Nuevo Siglo newspaper interview. Oct. 2002
  • Metro newspaper Interview. Sep. 2002 Tampa, FL
  • Draftsman for medical books @Antioquia University.1997-1998 Medellin, Ant. Colombia
  • Caricatures publications for El Colombiano newspaper. 1994 Medellin, Ant. Colombia