100 Creatives 2014: Ricky Ortiz, Painter, Tattoo Artist

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What He Does: Though he's quite capable of translating a beautiful image to be forever etched into your very flesh as a tattoo artist, most of the work that comes from Ricky Ortiz's brush is of a much more disturbing quality. Screams, fractured anatomies, and a penchant for poses that hunt at some kind of hellish perversion are his typical output, and it's as striking as it is uncomfortable to look at. Still, it's also undeniably beautiful, just as skillful surgery and a well-crafted weapon are beautiful.

Ortiz has drawn all his life, and can't remember a time when he wasn't creating images. His work has been presented in galleries, events, and venues around Houston. Zen Art Space, WarHous, JoMar Visions, and Comicpalooza have been good places to sample his wares, and he even picked up a Best Original Art award at last year's Splatterfest for his work in a local horror film. If you're lucky, you will also see his art on the skin of passers-by in Houston. His website is still under construction but you can visit the Facebook page for his art if you fancy setting an appointment.

Why He Likes It: "I love everything about it as far as being able to use it as a tool for expression and giving life. And by that I mean in the sense of being able to create something from nothing and having it take a life and meaning of its own. The best part of it is being hands-on with art. There is no other way of enjoying it in my opinion."

What Inspires Him: Ortiz's main inspiration growing up was comic books, and that love branched out later into horror and science fiction films. Though he's happy enough creating static images, he does hope to harness the momentum he started with Splatterfest and move more into the cinematic medium.

That he's a big fan of Cliver Barker and H.R. Giger's art is probably not all that much of a surprise from looking at the images in this article. He also fancies deep ocean horror novels like the ones by Peter Benchley and Steve Alten. Wherever you find something dark, fantastic, and probably lethal, Ortiz is sitting somewhere getting an idea from it.

If Not Here, Then Where: I'm not entirely sure. Never really put thought into where else I could utilize my work, but perhaps in Merida, Yucatan, Mex. It used to always be a second home to me. I have family there. Maybe somewhere in Italy too. It's very colorful and beautiful there, very fresh."

If Not This, Then What: In many ways, Ortiz is already putting aside the art that's made him well-known. More and more he paints less and tattoos less as he pursues movie work. For him it's a return to a first love.

What's Next: "Who knows? I've got plans and I'm pointed in a direction towards film production. I know what I want to do with my art behind the scenes and I know how I want it to look on screen. I want to design and build sets, characters, monsters, creatures, etc., and turn people into death, and other-worldly life forms. I've been recruited recently to the crew that's involved with Jeremy Sumrall's Pick-Axe Murders movie, as well as an extra. The second project is a film by award-winning director Travis Ammons. I'd like to start production on my own short film this summer. I've written the script. Still have more editing to do though. I'm getting there.

In the meanwhile, I've also been in talks with Khris Harding and AGRO to collaborate on T-shirt designs for them, as well as a collaboration with Doomstress Alexis and her band, Vendetta Diabolique, here in Houston."

More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, Actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer

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