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Oscar Ortiz was born in Manhattan, New York, USA in 1964.
Oscar started painting and selling his pieces back in 2002. Eventually he moved into selling prints and licensing his art all over the world, represented in part by Bridgeman Art Library and similar venues. Oscar’s paintings have graced calendars, CD’s, magazines, posters and others. Organizations, like UNESCO, have used his images for several purposes. Among his most recent project are: illustrating an award winning children book, “The Poet Upstairs”, by Judith Ortiz Cofer, published by Arte Público and released on November 30th, 2012. He also illustrated a text book for National Geographic Learning.
Whether at home or abroad he drinks fresh brewed black coffee at 3 PM or so as his favorite method of staying rooted with his Puerto Rican upbringing. He is still dating his High School sweet heart after 28 years of marriage.
As a person, Oscar holds an unblemished record of imperfection.
A half way done painting makes it all better.
“What to paint? I’m not sure, but I feel like doing something colorful, beautiful, and interesting… eye catching. It has to make me smile. It has to challenge me.”
I can say with total honesty that that’s exactly what crosses my mind every time I stare at a blank canvas.
No set rules. No profound messages.With some exceptions.
It has work for more than a decade now.
Why change it?
Mint Museum, Charlotte, NC Group Show 2013
Monroe Art Walk, Monroe, NC Group Show 2012
Museum of Art, University of North Carolina, Durham, NC Group Show 2012
Monroe Art Walk, Monroe, NC Group Show 2010
The Alcove Gallery, Monroe, NC Solo Show 2009
Monroe Art Walk, Monroe, NC Group Show 2009
Art Not Terminal Gallery, Seattle, Washington Group Show June, 2009
STOCK & LICENSED IMAGES ::
Bridgeman Art Library, London, UK
www.bridgemanart.com (search for Oscar Ortiz)
Norwood Publishers, USA ongoing collaboration for calendar images
2005 Puerto Rican Professional Association of South Florida Business Guide, FL, cover illustration
Fundacion Puertorriquena de Wisconsin y el Equipo Del Projecto de La Danza en Milwaukee, WI, promotional illustration
Esmaco Printers, PR, fully illustrated 2005 promotional calendar
2012 Arte Público, illustrations for the picture book by Judith Cofer Ortiz 'The Poet Upstairs'
Oscar Ortiz is a New York born Puerto Rican artist that currently lives in a rural suburb of North Carolina.
Following is his story.
His childhood memories in Puerto Rico, where he grew up, includes images of him running under a pouring rain to the local convenience store to buy from Don Serafín (Mr. Serafín) slices of meat wrapping paper for a cent each. The skinny boned old man would slowly rip one by one, rolled them in a scroll and tied them up with a string. Little Oscar, a rheumatic fever and heart murmur sufferer, would run home drenched but joyful to sketch super heroes cartoons in the few spared dry sheets.
As a youngster, he was requested often by his teachers to get involved in art projects for the school. He would spend hours and hours creating illustrations to be used as teaching aids. The pure joy of creating and making others happy through his paintings and drawings was what satisfied him the most. Nevertheless, the artistic creativity of the promising artist went dormant for almost thirty years!
In the summer of 2000 while walking with his wife downtown Charlotte, North Carolina, they decided to take a peek at a Comic Book Artists convention. As soon as they walked into the building, everything went mute for Oscar but the scratching sound of the pencils against the papers. Hundreds and hundreds of professional artists sketching left to right. He walked slowly through each booth, his heart pounding furiously. Finally, he looked at Wina to say, “I was meant for this. This is what I AM, an artist.” “Then you MUST do this!” was her stern answer. This conversation was taking place in front of the 'Art Instruction Schools' booth. Mr. Ballard, a gray hair debonair gentleman, perhaps a mind reader, approached the couple to ask, “Do you draw?” “Well, I do have a couple of sketches at home.” Oscar responded. Mr. Ballard and Oscar arranged to meet at his house for an evaluation of his talents. “You can certainly draw, but you’ll benefit to learn illustration techniques through the school.” Wina encouraged him to take them even though he was hesitant about the validity of learning mechanical illustrative techniques. His doubts were unfounded as each month afterwards he could see his draftsmanship abilities getting sharper and sharper.
Soon one of his illustrations made it to the local newspaper followed by a figurative realistic exhibition.
Wina had always been the pivotal hinge in his artistic career. One fine day he recalls clearly that she told him “Honey, I love your pencil drawings, but I’m sick and tired of black and white! I would like to see some colors for a change, you know. We are never going to make a living out of art unless you finally PAINT!”ť
Oscar had always looked at painting as a sacred terrain only available for the real gifted ones. Not anymore. His wife was right. So painting he did. From there on Oscar took upon himself to be as educated as possible in fine art and to learn from the real professionals. This entailed visiting working artists in their studios locally and abroad, starting and keeping communication with them through emails and constantly asking technical questions. He supported this self-imposed education with the reading of hundreds of books of different mediums and subscribing to several magazines.
In only two years after actively painting with no academic training through an atelier or personal coaching Oscar was commissioned his first piece. After that, he knew there was no going back. Several exhibitions and commissions followed that first one, selling more than 10 pieces in less than 6 months, and as the cliché goes, “the rest is history”.
As of today Oscar Ortiz is a well-respected artist that intelligently has carved a niche in the international art market. He has been praised for his mature and controlled tropical color palette. His professional outlook has positioned him as a well-sought artist that works on a one on one basis with private collectors and interior decorators.
Update: 2010 and present...
On 2009 the publishing house Arte Público, approached Oscar with an interesting proposal: illustrating a children’s book written by the awarded Puerto Rican writer Judith Ortiz Coffer. Coincidentally Oscar was already contemplating a change in his career. Since his beginnings as a fine artist he had been impressed by the works of several illustrators, such as Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker among many others and always dreamed of jumping with both feet into the illustration field. With that in mind he had spent a considerable amount of time, from 2008 on, drawing the figure and revisiting the books and materials that he used in the past through Art Instruction School as well as many other books and online resources. He applied his own advice of never stop been a fervent student regarding of your success, since that is the “secret” of any artist’s success.
The end result of that effort is the publication on November 2012 of the children’s book “The Poet Upstairs”.