Juan Pablo was born and raised in Bogotá, Colombia. In 1998, he immigrated to the United States and settled in Boston, MA. At the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, he received his Bachelor in Fine Arts. After graduating from MassArt he moved back to Bogotá, where he taught ceramics and art history at Colegio Los Nogales and continued his studio practice, exhibiting and participating in urban-crafts cooperatives. In 2012 he began working at United World College in Santa Ana, Costa Rica, where he taught art and ran a support group for LGBT+ students from diverse cultural and social-economic backgrounds. In 2017, he received his Masters in Fine Arts from the University of Delaware. Cárdenas has exhibited his work in Colombia, Cuba, Germany and the United States.
He is interested in narratives of mortality in literature and contemporary art of Latin America, with a concentration in material and literary culture.He is also interested in Queer studies in Latin American cultures.