Interview With An Artist

An interview with Cruz Ortiz
What is art to you?
I’m not really sure. I think the more I study the history of art and practice. It becomes more blurry. Especially when I look at contemporary art, the work being created by today is much more than what most folks think art is. For example, most folks think an artist is someone who can draw in realistic manner or someone who can sculpt a human head out of marble. Artists today are working in a manner that goes beyond traditional materials and subject matter. I guess the way I would define myself would be a human that makes things. With that kind of definition, that would allow for other folks to identify with—-thus allowing for the possibility that every human is an artist. Ha —that’s awesome.
In what magazine were you featured?
My work has featured in a couple of magazines. Recently I was featured in ARTNEWS. It was article that was a survey of Mexican-American artist working today. It was kinda nice, in that I was one of 6 top Chicano artists featured that are producing works that are being featured in museums throughout the world right now. It was a nice honor.
Why do you teach art?
After I graduated from high school I made a commitment that I wanted to help save the world. And after working in several community orientated adventures, I realized that the best way to help save the world would be to become a teacher. I also realized that teaching art is the one subject that has the possibility of addressing all human advances and/or concerns. I mean its art, its everything.
Who influenced you to do art?
I’ve had many influences. I think the biggest influence has been the passion of immigrants. This is group of folks, no matter where theyre coming from or going, they get up and move. They move considering mega-life changing possibilities and still are willing to take insane risks for something better. All humans deserve that, don’t we?
What are you doing now?
There are couple of things in the works. I’m currently working with a local publisher to put out a book on prints and paintings. This spring I’m working on the design team for my brother’s new restaurant in Napa Valley. And this summer I have an exhibition of large scale prints in Liverpool, UK.
What would you tell future artists?
Future artist advice—- work- work- work- understand your dreams and passions- and work—-do good and give back —help save the world —we need you.

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