MIAMI – At his 40 years of age, Mexican artist Omar Ortiz, who was born in Guadalajara, Jalisco, stands out as one of the most promising hyper-realistic painters in the world of arts.
His meticulously detailed work produces a single impression, and that is to leave audiences breathless at first sight.
With a particular sensitivity to reproduce what he observes, this painter takes advantage of four main elements:
The search for beauty
Concerns about the tactile
The impression of apparent simplicity, and
The love for color
A minimalist hyperrealism where the human figure dominates , while backgrounds full of texture and a magical set of fabrics characterize his work.
Tell me a little bit about your childhood. What did you dream of? What did you like to do?
When I was little, I loved to play and make up stories either with my toys or with the drawings for comic books I used to make. My childhood was not linked to the world of art; I don’t come from a family of artists. My father instilled in me the love for drawing and this was something that fascinated me since kindergarten. I used to copy comic book characters and sometimes spent hours at my desk drawing and coloring, but I never saw myself making a living out of painting, and my encounter with museums was during my college years. Just like any other kid, my childhood was pretty normal. However, I had a deaf-mute brother with whom I shared many good years of my life. We both liked sports and athletics as well as going to the countryside, which I keep doing as much as possible.
How was your approach to the world of painting?
I studied graphic design, where I learned the use of watercolors, colored pencils, markers, acrylic and charcoal, although airbrushing was the technique that struck me for many years. I’ve always liked to try to reproduce reality and airbrushing made things easier for me; those were my beginnings. Once completed the bachelor’s degree in graphic design, I dedicated myself to studying painting.
In 2002, he attended his first oil painting classes with painter Carmen Alarcón, who he considers his primary teacher in plastic arts. He currently does oil painting for considering it the most noble technique.
How were your first paintings? How did you develop your style?
My first paintings were portraits, as well as some Mexican scenes from photos I took and some other themes a bit surreal that called my attention during my youth. My current style was progressive; I’ve always liked challenges and one of the greatest for me in painting was the attempt to produce photorealistic images as airbrushing allowed me to have that effect, but once I learned the oil painting technique in 2003, I felt trapped in a unknown world that made me forget about the airbrush. It was a new technique that I tried to use at first following the airbrushing principles and trying to keep light as a support. Over time, I discovered a wide range of possibilities and, little by little, I was developing my own technique based on the observation of how I thought that the great Masters and other contemporary painters solved certain problems related to color, textures, chiaroscuros, etc.
Your style known as hyperrealism is admired by some and criticized by others. Don’t you like being defined as hyperrealistic or, on the contrary, you feel comfortable and identified with this current?
It makes no difference whether they call my painting style realistic, hyperrealistic, photorealistic, etc. I think it is ultimately a label that at times gets a little confusing. The important thing to me is to enjoy my work, the creation process and the final outcome.
Why does the female body inspire you so much? What are you looking to reproduce beyond the visible?
I love to paint beautiful things. Aesthetics has always been a constant in my quest as well as simplicity and minimalism, and I believe that the figurative is quite a complex issue full of expressiveness. I found in the female body an ideal pretext to try triggering emotions.
Has your personal life been influenced by an important female figure? In what way?
Yes, by my wife who was my muse in my first paintings and that is when I realized I loved to paint nude figures. That really fascinated me.
The backgrounds seen in your work are generally quite flat. In addition to the folds of fabrics – which remind me of Michelangelo’s Pietà –, your works evoke a single feeling as they are appreciated: that of taking your breath away, not telling a story. Do you agree with this point of view?
Yes, I agree. But I also think that as human beings, sensitive and full of memories and experiences, sometimes we don’t need them to tell us the full story. We just need them to awaken any of our senses so we can produce our own mental journey or get caught up in a second that seems to last an eternity admiring something that takes our breath away.
Which famous female figure would you like to photograph and paint?
Your models are thin and comply with the beauty standards dictated by fashion. Do you see yourself breaking this pattern?
Possibly in a future. I am not ruling it out.
Miami is a city that perfectly defines your style, one that is very contemporary and minimalistic. What are your plans with this city? Perhaps exhibiting one of your works?
I don’t have any plans for Miami at the moment. In fact, I have never showed my work in the U.S. I am currently working on a couple of pieces that will be going to New York, but ultimately Miami is a city that I would like to know and show some of my work there if possible.
Ortiz has exhibited his works 19 times since 2005 in various cities across Mexico, Zaragoza (Spain), Taiwan (Republic of China), London (UK), Greece and Roosendaal (the Netherlands).
In his leisure time, besides sharing with his wife Araceli Cervartes and daughter, this restless artist practices mountain biking, camping, carpentry and is general manager of cartografiagps.com, a business he started as a hobbie 10 years ago.