[Contains NSFW content]
Mixed-media artist Wendy Ortiz creates intensely, beautifully dark, powerful feminine art that captivates and holds the viewer.
Her ability to connect with her fans is more than evident in her 400k+ Instagram followers. Wendy’s work celebrates the enduring power and vulnerability of the female form. Using sensuality and mystique, her art expresses a struggle that moves exquisitely between creation and death.
Read on to find out more about Wendy Ortiz.
Where is home? Where are you from?
Home is currently Chino Hills, California. A pretty and quiet suburban city. Replicated boxes on a hilltop type place. My husband is from here. I’ve moved around a lot in my life but I grew up in San Bernardino, CA; a not so quiet city with one of the highest crime rates in California. I also partially grew up in Chimbote, Peru where my mom is from. On and off when my parents weren’t getting along (sorry mom).
A few interesting tidbits about Wendy.
Wendy’s formula for getting out of a rut and getting a fresh perspective is music and whiskey. When she’s not painting, she’s brushing up on WWII history. Secretly, her favorite song is Édith Piaf– “Ne me quitte pas”. And if she could be a character from any movie, depending on the day, she’d be Amélie Poulain but most of the time, Lt. Aldo Raine.
“…perhaps this is my way of taking back some of that ‘lost’ power by focusing on the beauty and strength women are born with and have to offer.”
When do you remember when drawing and painting became an integral part of your life?
I grew up not getting along with my mom. She’s my best friend now and biggest supporter of my work but back then she always wanted me to become something other than what came naturally to me – a doctor, a lawyer, an accountant etc. And I tried for years. I abandoned art throughout middle school and high school. She didn’t give me much of a choice, to be honest. While in college trying to pursue a career in biology, I wasn’t living with my parents anymore, and something clicked. I just wasn’t happy. I decided to drop out of school. I began drawing and painting, as a hobby, when I wasn’t working terrible bartending jobs. That’s when I realized I could never let art go again. I think I was 22-23.
It seems that you draw inspiration from the female form but what is it about the female form that inspires you? What triggers that spark of creativity?
I’ve been asked this question many times before and I’ve never been able to really get it sorted it out in my head. But I have a few ideas:
I’ve lived a lot of a trauma as a young child and perhaps this is my way of taking back some of that ‘lost’ power by focusing on the beauty and strength women are born with and have to offer. Or, maybe it’s one of my earliest memories, which was me finding some playboys under my dad’s bed and going through the pages and being mesmerized by the images. All I saw was the beauty (sorry pops). Or, maybe it’s just that all women are so damn incredible and amazing and I want to pay homage. Your guess is as good as mine.
What’s been the hardest lesson you’ve learned while creating a successful career? What advice would you love to have given yourself five or ten years ago?
My best advice to my long-ago self would be “Don’t be so precious about your work”. Words taken from my husband. But he’s annoyingly always right. He used to be my manager so he’s very familiar with all my work flaws. I was stubborn, I still am but more so then, I would refuse to move on from a painting/project that wasn’t working, wasting hundreds of hours trying to save a lost cause. I also use to micromanage especially when it was related to posting/sharing. I had to make sure it was all ‘just right’. The angle, the lighting, the artwork, the caption. It made me a difficult person to work with. But over the years I’ve loosened up. Now I actually dislike the idea of perfection now. It’s just boring.
“I’ve always been very self-conscious when it comes to my work. I still am.”
Please share the story behind your favorite artwork that is currently on Redbubble.
‘The Cycle’. My paintings are always sketches first. I remember being sick of only creating pretty things and wanted to push myself in a different direction. I began with the old woman and death. I can’t recall why I chose to create the other figures they just happened over the course of a few days. I kept omitting and adding. I’m of huge fan of Gustav Klimt so I’m sure subconsciously it became an ode to his works.
What is your dream project?
A large collaboration with my favorite artist friends. One that we all are on the same page about the direction and message and we all have the freedom to work continually until it’s complete without any distraction or worry. It’s all just seamless. It will never happen that way but that’s why it’s a dream.
What artwork are you excited to work on next?
My fan art piece of Khaleesi. It’s currently a work in progress and will take me a bit of time to complete. It’s been the most fun I’ve had in ages.