Joan Belmar was born in Santiago, Chile in 1970. He left Chile for Spain at the age of 24. He began painting professionally in Spain, using the Catalan name Joan for his first name John. He came to Washington, D.C. four years later in 1999, was granted permanent residency in the U.S. based on extraordinary artistic merit in 2003, and became a citizen in 2010.
Joan Belmar is well known for his unique technique of 3-D paint. He combined his former painting and collage techniques with both painted and untreated Mylar/paper strips in circles and curvilinear shapes. This technique produces variations in transparency, as light and the viewer move in relation to the work. The sheer quality of these translucent materials captures and reflects light and encourages an up-close viewing of the work to reveal the different layers within.
He was a Mayor's Art Award Finalist in 2007 as an outstanding emerging artist in Washington, DC. The DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities recognized him with an Artist Fellowship Program grant in 2009, and in 2011 he was awarded an Individual Artist Grant by the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County, MD. He is a two-time recipient of the Maryland Arts Council Individual Artist Grant in Visual Arts: Painting, in 2010 and 2013.
Belmar’s work is part of many private and public collections, including the University of Maine Museum of Art’s Permanent Collection. In 2016 he won first place, from among 2240 received artworks, for best Original Work in the prestigious Osten Biennial of Drawing in Macedonia, and in 2020 he was granted with the CSA grant by the Barret Art Center, Poughkeepsie, New York