Hailing from a family of celebrated Pueblo potters, Virgil Ortiz moves into a new era combining art, décor, fashion, video and film. Ortiz’s exquisite clay works are exhibited worldwide from the National Museum of the American Indian in New York, s’Hergotenbosh Museum in The Netherlands, to Foundation Cartier in Paris, France featuring Vertigo, a 21-piece clay series acquired by the museum for their permanent collection. Born in 1969, the youngest of six children, Ortiz grew up in a creative environment in which storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and producing figurative pottery were part of everyday life; his grandmother Laurencita Herrera and his mother, Seferina Ortiz, were both renowned Pueblo potters and part of an ongoing matrilineal heritage. “I didn’t even know it was art that was being produced while I was growing up,” he remembers. Ortiz, who works and lives in Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, has worked hard and has had a few lucky breaks that have propelled him to a preeminent place among contemporary Native artists.
After a highly successful collaboration with fashion mogul Donna Karan, which he developed boldly patterned textiles based on his graphic decorative painting, Ortiz has since launched his own fashion line. His designs are captivating, provocative, and edgy thus creating the high demand for his sharp laser-cut leather jackets, swinging taffeta skirts, cashmere sweaters and silk scarves echoing the voluminous contours and sinuous motifs of Pueblo pottery showcasing the richness of indigenous high fashion and compelling storytelling of Pueblo culture and history.
“It’s important to recognize that Pueblo communities are very much alive and have a level of vitality that speaks to generations of strength, persistence, brilliance, and thriving energy. I have something very important to do before I go. I want to preserve my culture and inspire our youth to accomplish whatever it is they dream to be.” – Virgil Ortiz