I have resided in New Mexico throughout my life and completed two Fine Arts degrees (Art Studio & Art History) at the University of New Mexico after finishing a pre-engineering program at Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA.
What inspired the builders of Chichen Itza, Newgrange, Pueblo Bonito, Machu Picchu.. and other important archaeoastronomical sites? Many say that they were trying to better understand nature and the cosmos, their purpose, life and death. My work is guided by ancients of the world like them, their quest for truth and their mastery of stone.
Me.. With Anasazi, Mexican, and Spanish blood lines flowing through me, I find in my work the residual influences that come with genetic memory. My father (d. 1972) was a painter and my grandfather (d. 1997) was a stone mason; therefore, my desire to become an artist was inevitable. In addition to being inspired by my fathers and motivated by my ancestors, I am often encouraged by an array of philosophies, cultures, science, other artists and designers as well as nature. When these influences convene within me, a brilliant new work inevitably comes to life - a moment of epiphany is facilitated through the piece and life has more meaning & purpose than before.
My training.. After being encouraged by my high school jewelry and trigonometry teachers to go to college, I followed through and began a magnificent journey in pursuit of advanced understanding of science & engineering, and mastery of Fine Art. I attended Southwestern Indian Polytechnic Institute, the Albuquerque Technical-Vocational Institute (CNM), and The University of New Mexico. Having completed a rigorous technical program in Engineering Technology (1991), finishing an exceptional art studio program - concentration in Sculpture (1997), and securing an important art history degree - Ancient Art of the Americas (1998), I acquired a distinctive foundation that allows me to research, contemplate, plan and execute sculptural works that are unusual and truly unique.
Stone and me.. As a paleo-lapidarist, working with stone is an essential and sublime connection to Mother Earth for me as her spirit and essence is in every stone. Being respectful of my medium and honoring the ancients and their methods of working with stone, I do not use tools that require electricity or pneumatics; but rather, I employ my own labor and ingenuity, as well as utilize ancient techniques of working with stone (e.g., using stone microdrills). This unusual and archaic method of sculpting is incredibly labor intensive, yet truly enriches the experience and the final product.
My style.. A number of my designs incorporate circles, holes, and spiral forms - each of which universally represent perpetuity, eternity and infinity - birth, life, rebirth - time without end. Using these motifs allows me to pay homage to the ancients of the world who used these symbols and design elements in ceremony and to describe the unknown.
With that, I am hopeful that I have provided enough information to help you better understand my work, yet allow opportunity for cerebral and sensory contemplation. I encourage any thoughts or feedback you'd like to share and I wish you and yours a safe, divine.. and magical day. All the Best, Art
Questions or acquisition inquiries: NMEducation@aol.com
Art Ortega joined Fine Art America on July 21st, 2010.