Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

Easy Green: 10 quick ways to make money in college

College Issue 2014: Sell clothes. Plato’s Closet is a great place to take your gently worn apparel in exchange for cold, hard cash. They accept clothes, shoes and... By Brittany Minor 8/18/2014
SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

SAPD Issues Thousands of Tickets for Homelessness

News: Data and records obtained by the Current show that between January 1, 2013, and early October of this year the San Antonio... By Alexa Garcia-Ditta and Elaine Wolff 10/22/2014
Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Alamo Ice House Brings Hill Country to Downtown

Food & Drink: There was a special kind of draw at Alamo Ice House on a recent Tuesday evening. A handful of weeks after opening its... By Jessica Elizarraras 10/22/2014
6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

6 Sinfully Good Grilled Cheese Sandwiches in SA

Food & Drink: Cheesy Jane’s. Multiple locations, If the name is any indicator, this San Antonio staple doesn’t mess around when it comes to... By Tommie Ethington 10/22/2014

Best Local Artist

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

Arts & Culture

Artist on Artist: Gary Sweeney Interviews Cruz Ortiz

Photo: Joaquin Moreno-Ortiz, License: N/A

Joaquin Moreno-Ortiz

No Absolut bottles were harmed (or even opened) in the making of this photo

Cruz Ortiz is known by many as the art teacher at Lee High School, a job he has held for the past 10 years. To the San Antonio art scene, however, he's a wild and outrageous presence whose intercultural word pieces (Soy un Boring Lover) have entertained us since his breakout Artpace residency in 2005. And his art career, these days, is on fire. He was recently commissioned to design an Absolut Vodka bottle; an honor bestowed on only a select few. He also installed one of his signature comic figure environments for a music venue at SXSW in Austin last month. He's a busy guy. We talked with him at his Southtown "compound," which includes several studios and an old railroad station.

Was there a particular moment when you decided you wanted to be an artist?

Yep—when I was five years old at Holy Name in Houston; we did a really cool project where we melted crayons to make these cool drawings on fabric. I made a pillowcase—after that I was sold.

Would you consider your work in the family of Outsider Art?

Outsider Art—that’s funny—seems like a trap the Insider Art people came up with.

How would you describe your work? Are there themes running through it?

My attention span doesn’t allow me to be nailed down to a certain type of art—I think I might be a scientist—just researching and coming up with solutions to problems.

What do you consider to be your biggest strength as an artist?

Strength—work—it’s like the new Britney Spears song.

Who have been your biggest influences?

I have a really long list of influences; in fact the list gets shifted around a bit, depending on where I’m at in my life or what the tasks are gnawing at my ankles. So Joseph Beuys, The Smiths, Helen Frankenthaler, José Guadalupe Posada, Richard Tuttle, Sue Coe, Esteban Jordan, Ana Mendieta, Félix González-Torres, love the stuff Santiago Sierra does, Mexican sign painters, Fugazi, Rodchenko, Sunny Ozuna and the Sunliners, Alice Neel and, of course, George Strait.

A few times I’ve made artwork that I’ve deliberately wanted to look raw and unfiltered and I found it was an effort to keep it from looking polished. Do you ever find yourself having to dial back your efforts to keep it looking fresh?

I don’t think about that too much. There have been times that things look too clean, but it wasn’t that I needed to make it more raw or unfiltered. It just meant maybe I should think about what I really want to convey, so then I go at it again and then it ends up looking raw. I concentrate on more of the immediacy of my work. I want to convey a sense of urgency; there’s a lot of work to be done.

How were you approached to design an Absolut Vodka bottle?

It’s been a really interesting process. A design agency, Guerilla Suit, called me up and said that they had been approached by Absolut to produce a new bottle for their city series—but this one was for the entire state of Texas. So GS essentially put together a bunch of Texas-based artists on some fake bottles and the folks at Absolut gravitated towards mine.

Recently in Arts & Culture
  • SA Design Maven D’Ette Cole and the Topography of Junk D’Ette Cole has been an artist, interior designer, antiques dealer and even a pie. Simply put, she notices everything, and has built her career on... | 10/22/2014
  • Failure Is Not an Option: George Lopez returns to SA It is evident comedian George Lopez is still a little sensitive about the on-again, off-again relationship he’s had with television. Whatever the... | 10/22/2014
  • Free Will Astrology ARIES (March 21-April 19): The driest place on the planet is the Atacama Desert in northern Chile. It gets about a half-inch of rain per year. And yet in 2011, archaeologists discovered that it’s also home to a site containing the fossilized skeletons of nu | 10/22/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus