12/12/2013 12:29 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

This Artist's Take on the Human Form Will Amaze You

José Taveras is a Lisbon artist with a different vision of what makes us human. Trained as a biologist, José turned to art soon after graduating from Vysoká Skola Zemedelská v Brne, a Czech university, in the Seventies. José found conventional artistic and verbal forms of expression too limited and nationalistic, and in response, created a visual language that is a fusion of math, geometry and art. He calls his new language Iknie, after the Greek word "icon." His goal is to connect across cultural and political boundaries in a way that is more intuitive and less reliant on conventional modes of communication.

José Taveras

"It's a universal language," José tells me as we sit at the Vertigo Café in Lisbon. "Anyone, regardless of nationality, language, politics or education can understand at a glance the meaning of my art. And anyone can use the individual parts, the Iknies, to create their own art."


Indeed. José's Iknies break down traditional barriers of language, politics and nationalistic biases, and give us an insight into the wonderful and unique complexity that is the human condition.

You can see more of José's work at and at

Darby Roach is a writer, designer and adventurer. He recently rode his bicycle around the world and has written two new books about the odyssey, Right Lane Ends and How To Ride A Bicycle 'Round The World.