Archive for April, 2013

Website updates…

So just a quickie post here…

I have made some major changes to my website. For starters, I upgraded to the paid version so I could add more stuff. Secondly, that’s exactly what I’ve done. I now have nine galleries, whereas before I only had three. And those galleries are now organized (mostly) by series, rather than by media type. I have galleries for my new Iconology series, and for the first few of my Musings Of A Predator Drone pieces. There are galleries for a bunch of older series, and one-off works and things that just don’t quite fit into any series are organized under the old system, with galleries for miscellaneous paintings on canvas, paintings on paper, and drawings. And to top it all off, I’ve updated my “about” page to include links to Zapow and The Updraft, along with a more up-to-date listing of shows that I’ve been a part of. So there you have it, the new and improved (how can something be new and improved?) Chris Ortega Fine Art And Illustration. Go check it out. Now. Seriously. Cat videos can wait, this is important…


My Art @ Zapow!

GREAT NEWS EVERYONE!!! (and I seriously hope you read that in Professor Farnsworth’s voice)

My space at Zapow is up! As careful observation of the photo below will reveal, the space includes a handful of original pieces, along with two hanging racks of prints and greeting cards (all very reasonably priced)

For those of you who don’t know, Zapow is a gallery of fun and funky pop culture art and illustration. It’s located on Battery Park Ave. in downtown Asheville.

Be sure to come on by and check out my stuff… and if you’re feeling generous, buy some prints or original artwork. Support local artists! Specifically me, your dear friend who could use a little extra cash 😉


Zapow wall


Enjoy the rest of this rainy Sunday evening. The end.
Your Pal, Chris


A Week Of Insanity

It all began last Saturday. Walking home from work, I found an unopened roll of Sweet Tarts on the ground. Believe it or not, that was among the more expected and “normal” things to happen…

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*deep breath*

The past week or so has been a little on the crazy side…

I’ve spent the vast majority of my free time working on new art. I’ve been trucking right along with my “Iconology” series. I have two of the six panels completely finished, two more that are a little more than halfway finished, and two more that are waiting on me to buy some more gold leaf. I took a shitty photo and posted it to my tumblr. Eventually I’ll get some good photos and upload them to my main page.

When I haven’t been working on those, I’ve been dreaming up new ideas. I bought some four-packs of 6″ x 6″ canvases on clearance at Wal-Mart for $5 each, which I will be turning into rather minimalist miniatures. The first series to come out of these tiny canvases will be called “Musings of a Predator Drone.” I’m not sure how many of these I’ll do, but basically they will be simple ink drawings of predator drones, with collaged words cut out of newspaper, making ironic and cheesy poetry. I figure since I got them so cheap I can sell them cheaply as well – probably somewhere in the range of $6 or so.

And when haven’t been working on one series and dreaming up another, I’ve been printing labels for the back of my art. I bought a new printer (since it was cheaper than buying new ink cartridges for the one I already have) and some transparent address labels, on which I put my website address and a cropped version of the painting that’s on my business card. I’ll be putting these on all of my bagged prints and on the back of my canvas, wood, and framed pieces. Makes my stuff look more professional, yo.

This past Friday we had an opening reception at work for our artists of the month, the husband and wife duo of Bob Martin and Betty Carlson. The artwork is really great stuff, and they’re both such cool people in every possible way. The turnout wasn’t quite as good as for our previous opening, but it was a lot of fun, and a lot of important players in the local art scene were in attendance. After that I went to the opening at Zapow, which featured artwork inspired by Star Wars, Star Trek, and Dr. Who. Can’t really complain about that now can we? Well, not if you’re a nerd like myself anyway.

I’m still attempting to get my artwork into some local-ish galleries, and it looks like I might be making a little headway. Assuming my finances are okay at the end of the month, I’ll be renting a space at Zapow. I’ll probably put a few of my icons up there, along with some of my political drawings, some magnets and assorted miniatures, and a ton of prints. Hopefully I’ll be able to sell enough to offset the cost of renting a space. Fingers crossed! As far as other leads go, at our opening I gave my card to a woman who runs a gallery in the River Arts District. She went to my website and really liked my stuff. She talked to me for a little while about the possibility of doing a joint show with another artist who has a lot of politically themed works. Tomorrow I’m going with my neighbor Joshua to this gallery in Tryon that wants to hang some of his work. I figure I’ll show them my stuff, and then we can check out the other gallery in Tryon, which is more focussed on contemporary art and would possibly be more interested in my work. And last but not least, this guy came into the store the other day and was telling me about an art collective he’s trying to start. He helped to create something similar in Atlanta, and now it’s a pretty big deal. I showed him my stuff and he likes it. He said he’ll keep me posted, so hopefully something good will come of that.

As far as the “women” part of the subject of this blog goes… I still haven’t heard anything from Katie. When she didn’t have a phone or internet she made no attempt whatsoever to get in touch with me and let me know what was up, so I went over her place one night and then decided I would let her make the next move. She never did anything. So basically, even though we haven’t had “the talk” and my Facebook page still says otherwise, I’ve considered myself single since that night. She doesn’t seem interested, and I see no point in trying to be with someone who doesn’t seem to want the same. I’ve been looking into other options, and thus far there’s a few. A girl came into the store the other day and we started talking, eventually adding each other on Facebook. I can’t really tell if she’s interested or if I have a chance, but she’s incredibly gorgeous and a pretty talented artist. I met a girl on Plenty Of Fish who is really awesome, but she’s only 20 and a little hesitant to meet someone so much older. I’ve recently started chatting again with my friend Cassidy, who I haven’t talked to in about a year or so. And then of course there’s the cute pharmacist at Target who I never seem to find the guts to ask out. So perhaps one of those possibilities will turn into something more, who knows.

So yeah. I guess that’s a pretty exhaustive account of what’s been going on in my life lately. The End.


How about a little rant?

I’ve been an artist for basically my entire life. Over the years I’ve studied and learned different mediums, techniques, etc. I’ve read about artists, genres, and movements. I’ve been to countless museums and galleries. The arts, visual and otherwise, have always been a huge part of my life. I’ve absorbed so much of what I’ve seen, and it would be crazy to deny that I’ve been influenced by a lot of it.

In school I was forced to try mediums I didn’t like and to learn about artists I didn’t find interesting, all with the intended purpose of making me a better and more well-rounded artist. My learning didn’t stop when I finished school. In the years since then I’ve learned about countless artists and techniques that I never knew existed. Not to mention many new products and technologies that weren’t around even a decade ago.

When you add all of this up, it sounds like diversity would be an accepted part of being an artist. There’s so much out there, so of course you’re going to dabble in as much as you can. But for some reason, that’s the exact opposite. The art world wants you to find one distinct style and stick with it, and never vary your work more than one or two degrees to the left or the right. This has always infuriated me, and probably always will.

An acquaintance from the gas station where I used to work is an art consultant. When I showed her my website, she commented that my work was too all-over-the-place and that I should eliminate a few galleries and styles from my page. Last week I went to a gallery downtown and spoke briefly with the owner. He told me that the epic neoclassical paintings of gods and warriors in the main gallery were done by the same artist who painted the pretty bowls of fruit in the auxiliary gallery. The artist uses a pseudonym for the fruit paintings, because “if he used his real name, neither of them would sell.” A quick flip through any contemporary art magazine or a quick browsing of Deviantart will reveal that most artists these days just keep reworking the same images and styles over and over again until every piece by them starts to look almost identical. Having your entire body of work blur into one singular style is the name of the game.

But why is this so? If I’m influenced by and appreciate different styles and mediums, why am I wrong for wanting to work in those styles and mediums? If I have different ideas and emotions, why should I be expected to express them all in the same format? And when did it become this way? Contemporary voices in the art world seem to forget that there is an overlap between Picasso’s cubist works and collages and his “blue” period. Richter painted photorealistic candles and skulls at the same time he was throwing paint on canvases and painting squares of color. Artists have always experimented and developed, and their progressions weren’t always linear. But for some reason, these days we’ve decided you have to fit into a little box.

That’s really what it’s all about – marketing. If you stay within one style, you’re easier to market. If people can more easily understand and digest your work, there’s a better chance they’ll be drawn to it. We’re afraid of what we don’t understand. But if we can categorize something, we have power over it. This is the antithesis to what art is really about. Art is freedom. Art is expression. Art is power. It has power over us, not the other way around. As for me, I’ll continue to let art exert its power over me. I’ll continue to follow my muse wherever it may lead. I feel that when we’ve collectively recovered from this contemporary era of art where marketing is more important than talent, expression, and beauty, it will be whether or not you stayed true to yourself and to art itself that separates the great from the mediocre.