José María Mijares Fernández was born in Havana, Cuba, in 1921.
He began artistic studies in 1936 at the School of Art of San Alejandro in Havana, where his professors included Romañach, Menocal, Valderrama, Ramon Loy, and Caravia. Mijares himself credits one of his most influential professors, Ponce, with helping him develop his own style of expression.
His first major showing was in 1944, at a national exhibition in Havana's Capital building.
His style at the time was figurative but in the 1950's changed to his signature style, which he referenced as "concrete forms." He left Cuba in 1968 and establishing in Miami, until his death in 2004.
Mijares was part of many group exhibits in Japan, Venezuela, Brazil, France and United States. Florida International University awarded him an honorary doctorate in fine arts in December, 2001.