Tag Archive: art


I had a pretty big day planned Wednesday. First I was going to go down to the Humane Society and start on my volunteer work. Then I planned on doing a little job-hunting and going to Zapow to pay my bill. So naturally, I walk out to my car and see a flat tire.

The good news is I’ve had my car for nearly ten years, and this is the first flat tire I’ve ever had. The bad news is that my car had some fancy rims on it when I bought it. They have these weird little “wheel locks” that require a special key. I only know this because every time I bring it in to the shop for anything that requires taking off the wheels they ask where the key is. But having never had a flat, I couldn’t figure out how to get the damn wheel off to change it. So I ended up having to get it towed to the shop…

The shop I go to is a pretty small operation, with only one tow truck. They were doing something for the city and had to tow a vehicle from a construction site. Unfortunately the guy didn’t leave the keys in it, so they had to try to get ahold of him. This took about three hours for some reason. I kept calling and he kept saying they were still waiting. Fun times. At least when I finally got to the shop they didn’t charge me for plugging the tire, only the towing. But by the time I got home it was after 5:00, so my day was effectively ruined. I attempted to salvage it by touching up my resume and starting a painting, but that was about all I got accomplished.

Little did I know that the very next day would be a complete turn-around. I started ironing my dress pants so I could resume my job-hunting when the phone rang. It was the pawn shop I interviewed at calling to tell me I got the job. With no need to go around looking for a job, I decided to take care of a few other things. I went to the unemployment office to tell them I got a job and then did a little grocery shopping.

I eventually did make it to the Humane Society, and my first hour of volunteer work went pretty well. You have to log three hours of “bed, bath, and beyond” (laundry and dishes) before you can do anything else. Everyone I met there seems really cool, and the vibe is really relaxed and fun. I can’t wait until I get to actually work with the animals. After that I went out to buy some new pants to meet the dress code of my new job, then came home and finished my painting and cooked some dinner.

That brings us to today. This weekend is my last weekend of being unemployed, but I’m not exactly making the most of it yet. I planned on going on a hike today, but last night I got sick to my stomach and didn’t get much sleep. When I woke up I just didn’t feel up to anything more strenuous than walking around the lake a few times. I did a little more shopping, watched a movie, and started on a new painting. I’m finally getting around to using the gigantic canvases I got for free months ago. I’m going to try to limit myself to only house paint and india ink, and all of the pieces will be rather loose and abstracted. I haven’t figured out what I’m doing tomorrow, but my date for the evening cancelled, so perhaps I’ll get that hike in after all. Then on Sunday I have two more hours of volunteer work, in addition to my usual laundry day. Then Monday it’s finally back to the daily grind, after a month of sleeping late and bumming around.

 

The past few days have been rather productive…

Thursday was my day off. I started by paying my rent and dropping a bill in the mail. Then I went downtown to talk to the ESC about my claim. They told me everything was processed, but evidently there’s still some issue with my claim, so I’m gonna have to call there before work on Monday and see what’s up. I got my letter in the mail and it said there was something wrong, and when I filed my weekly certification it said I wouldn’t be getting paid this week. I’m wondering if the fact that I’m still employed complicates things, or if maybe my boss is trying to fight it or something. Hopefully I can get it figured out soon, because still no bites as far as other jobs go.

When I got home I went on a cleaning spree – vacuuming the living room and my bedroom and cleaning the microwave. I watched a little television and then cooked a nice dinner. Then I went to work on some art. A while back my friend Cassidy asked me to paint her a puppy, so that’s what I did. I did a light wash on some Japanese paper, then when it was dry I drew a cartoon-ish puppy, his doghouse, and some trees in the background. It’s pretty cheesy looking, but I’m fairly certain she’ll like it. Then I started on another piece in my Musings Of A Predator Drone series, which I eventually finished Friday before work. Other than that, Friday was pretty uneventful.

Today I woke up entirely too early to go to Geekout, a convention modeled after the big comic-cons that happen all over the world. I met up with James and Nici there and we roamed around for a while. We were all surprised by just how small it was – they didn’t even fill up the bottom level of UNCA’s basketball stadium. Most of the booths were just people selling prints of their geek culture-themed artwork, and a ridiculous amount of nerdy jewelry. There was live music, but it wasn’t particularly good. There was sword fighting with giant foam swords, a few panel discussions on things none of us were interested in, and gaming rooms where you could pay to play in tournaments. After about an hour and a half we were bored, having walked by every booth three or four times. They left to go see a movie and I picked up a quick lunch and then took a nap. I went back a little before 5:00 for a “shadow cast” of Doctor Horrible’s Sing Along Blog. Basically it was a handful of people lip synching along while the actual production played on the screen behind them. The only one who was really in costume was Doctor Horrible, and while he definitely looked the part, he wasn’t particularly good at miming the motions. The guy playing Captain Hammer was tall and scrawny – he’s lucky if he weighs 100 pounds. He basically just wore a black t-shirt with a paper print of the Captain Hammer logo taped to it. The girl who played Penny was actually incredibly hot, and seemed to have a bit more personality than the others, even though her timing and lip synching skills weren’t exactly great either. They recruited people from the audience to do some of the non-essential characters, and in all honesty they did just as good a job as the supposed professionals putting on the production. Overall I’d say Geekout was basically a bust – a good way to kill a few hours, but ultimately disappointing and definitely not worth the cost of admission.

As of this writing I’m basically killing time before dinner, and then after dinner I’ll be going to a concert. The band Murder By Death is playing the Asheville Music Hall. While they’re not necessarily popular, they’re still a pretty big name for a venue that typically gets only local and regional bands. I told my neighbor Angela about the concert, and she looked them up online and decided she wants to go too. She’ll be bringing along her new boyfriend, and based on what she was saying, they’ll most likely leave early or right when it ends. While I’m not a huge fan of MBD, I really like the sound they have going on. Hopefully it will translate well and they’ll put on a pretty good show. I’m under the impression that any band with a cellist will make for an entertaining evening. James and Nici invited me to some burlesque thing at The Boiler Room, but it starts at the same time as the concert. Depending on when the concert ends I might swing by there and check it out, but probably not. I’ll more than likely just come home and veg out, in preparation for a nice boring day tomorrow…..

 

My piece “Galvanized Electronic Zapping Apparatus (the floating robot head formerly known as ‘Disconnect’)” will be featured on the blog Handmadefuzzy for their Spotlight Friday, which this week will be featuring drawings.

I was contacted via my page on Zibbet.com by who I’m assuming is the author of the blog. They said the link will be live around 6:30 am, which is way before I will be awake. The blog itself seems to be mostly focused on crafts, but there’s a lot of variety on there. I’m pretty interested to see what other styles of drawings will be featured alongside my piece.
If nothing else, this could give me some visibility and introduce my art to people who might not have seen it otherwise. So yay. Be sure to go check out Handmadefuzzy tomorrow (although you don’t really have to do it at the crack of dawn.) The end.

 

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.
Sincerely,
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…

Continue reading

*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.

 

March Madness

It’s been almost three weeks since I wrote anything here, and I’m not exactly sure why. It’s not like a whole lot has actually been going on in my life. So yeah…

A guy came into the store a few weeks ago. He’s a photographer who works at a print shop, and he said some friends of his were trying to open a gallery. I showed him some of my stuff and he loved it. We set up a time to meet and talk about stuff, but he had an appointment that went late, so we decided to reschedule. That was the last I heard from him – he hasn’t replied to my emails since. I’m not sure what that’s all about.

It’s been about a week since I’ve heard from or seen Katie. Last Sunday we got together, and I called her in the middle of the week to see what she was up to. She had some family stuff going down, so we talked about possibly getting together on the weekend. She posted on Facebook a few days later that her phone had died, and she would be getting a new one on her next day off. I sent her a message and asked if she needed a ride or anything, but never got a reply. Last night I messaged her again and asked if she got a phone yet, and gave her my number again in case she lost her contacts. I haven’t heard from her since. I’m not sure what that’s all about either.

It snowed last night. The weather has been absolutely insane lately, and my sinuses have been killing me. I have a weird schedule this week, with two days off, then a day on, then two more off. I’m trying to wrap up some art projects, and hopefully check out a few more galleries and coffee shops that might be interested in my stuff.

But the main thing going on lately is college basketball. With the exception of a stinker of a loss to Duke, my Tar Heels have been pretty hot this month. And now of course we have the NCAA Tournament. I’ve entered three different bracket games, and so far I’m doing pretty well. I doubt I’ll win any grand prizes, but a small prize would be nice. I’m doing better than the so-called “experts” at the CBS Sports website, so at least I can gloat about that.

There really isn’t a whole lot else going on. Like I said, my life is a little on the boring side lately. But I suppose there are worse problems to have, eh?

 

This just in from the art world of yours truly…

You can now see four pieces of my artwork on display at The Updraft Gallery in downtown Asheville. The four pieces in question are the Tree Rings series (here, here, and here) and The Tree Of Life.

The Updraft is a fairly new gallery, run by artists. They have a lot of variety – many different styles of painting, decorative stuff, jewelry, pottery, glass, you name it. The location is great – in addition to being downtown, they’re right across the street from an expensive tapas restaurant. The guy who runs it is pretty cool, and he also runs Art In The Park and has some good connections in the community. There’s really no telling whether or not my stuff will sell, but it’s definitely good exposure, and it could lead to even bigger things.

So if you happen to be passing through downtown Asheville, come check out my stuff, (and the other work there). And if you’re nowhere near Asheville, then by all means go to my shop. Yay!