“Clay is the core of all my creations. Water feeds the clay; the sun feeds the wild spinach plant. Fire awakens the wild spinach plant, binding it to the hardening clay. The wind unfurls the cloth, inspiring my fashions. My work gives voice to these elements, revealing unexpected statements.”
– Virgil Ortiz
“Tradition is important to Virgil Ortiz but it is not a limitation. It is a springboard to create vessels and figurative clay works which are expressive of his desires, culture, history and being an insightful, and often witty, social commentator. His work challenges and inspires the viewer and this places him among the leaders of today’s contemporary art movement”. - Charles King, King Galleries
There is an air of naiveté about Ortiz’s work which is intoxicating. As a viewer, you long to be part of the joke, even if it’s on you.” – Clay People
“Virgil Ortiz is the pueblo equivalent of a rock star, deliberately seeking and embracing fame while maintaining a cynical distance from the distorting mirages of celebrity.” – Garth Clark, Author & Art Critic
“It gives me great hope when I see someone of Virgil Ortiz’s success give back to his community; to help shape these young minds and hearts to believe in themselves and give them the tools to change the world for the better.” – Ben Ray Lujan, Member of Congress
“Virgil Ortiz. A brilliant, witty and terminally hip Native American artist is a magnet for mainstream media attention. The artist is in danger of becoming a captive of fame.” – Ndn Art
Virgil Ortiz Designs Jewelry Collection for Smithsonian
The jewelry infuses various elements of Ortiz’s heritage into motifs for the collection. The jewelry collection will be exclusively available at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian stores in D.C. and New York.
Virgil Ortiz is a Pueblo artist inspired by two loves: the traditional figurative ceramic style he learned from his mother, and Star Wars. These influences resulted in Revolt 1680/2180, a solo exhibition Ortiz originally premiered in 2015, best described as a sci-fi remix of the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, complete with laser blasters and an ancient astronauts vibe.
Evolution, from the Latin evolutio, was first defined as ‘the unrolling of a scroll’ and came to signify ‘the revelation that comes with unfolding something.’ In time, it would come to refer to maneuvers and movements of various kinds, twisting and turning. Modern use of the word conveys gradual change from a simpler to a more complex state. Yet, even Charles Darwin, whose name became synonymous with the word, resisted its use to define his groundbreaking theory on the transformation of species until the very last verb of On the Origin of Species, when he wrote: From so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being, evolved.
For the past 15 years, Ortiz has sought a way to tell the story of the 1680 Pueblo Revolt through his artwork and simultaneously make it more relevant and engaging to the next generation by using contemporary art to blend historic events with sci-fi fantasy – think Star Wars, Prometheus, The Avengers & Justice League. His material choices and techniques draw from the past, while his imagery is both ultramodern and futuristic.