The work of Virgil Ortiz speaks a language all its own. There is a code conveyed that reaches beyond words, conversing closer to soul: wild spinach, water, clouds, fertility symbols – all appearing in columns and rows. The striking patterns spoke to Donna, who, after discovering Ortiz’s works, was inspired to use them on a dress and a skirt for Spring 2013. These graphically compelling designs, Ortiz says, have belonged to his family for hundreds of years.
There is tension in Ortiz’s work, between the traditional and the modern. He comes from a family of highly regarded figurative artists who work in pottery and are based in Cochiti Pueblo in New Mexico. His mother, Seferina, learned the craft from her mother Laurencita, and handed down the tradition to her children.
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Ortiz inherited the impulse to surprise with the odd narrative twist. “When I was six, I created a sculpture of a woman,” he explains. “She had very prominent breasts. Then I next painted her wearing a bow tie and hat, my parents