Aztec Creations •
The Artwork of Ricardo Ortega transcends time and takes us on a mystical journey into an ancient way of life. His paintings reveal an array of indigenous symbols from Mexico’s past, turning his colorful compositions into modern day codices which reveal the history, myths, legends, and spiritual beliefs of the Mexica people, better known as the Aztecs. Each painting captures the heritage of his ancestors, who held the arts with high regard, truly believing that the Tlacuilo (The Painter) had his heart rooted in God and would transfer the symbols of divinity to his paintings. This ancient tradition of creativity is the root of Mr. Ortega’s art. In his paintings we see and feel a deep spiritual presence illuminating his compositions. His visions tend to stay away from the political, militaristic side of the Mexicas, keeping his eyes focused on the beautiful artistry they surrounded their lives with along with their deep devotion to the gods who ruled the Heavens, the Earth, and the Underworld. It has been written that the Aztecs were conquered and their way of life destroyed, yet here we see that they still live and breathe through the artistry of this twenty-first century Tlacuilo, The painter Ricardo Ortega.
The artwork of Ricardo Ortega has been exhibited at numerous galleries, beginning with his first exhibition at Galeria Las Americas in Santa Monica, California, in 1995. Others include, Lankershim Art Gallery in NoHo, Los Angeles; Pueblo Gallery in Los Angeles; Carlottas Passion in Eagle Rock, California; Casa de la Cultura in Las Cruces New Mexico; DA Gallery in Pomona, Californina; Dr. Rudy Acuña Gallery in Oxnard, California, and many others throughout his years of exhibiting . He has given lectures along with slide shows at different Universities and high schools in Southern California. From 1995-2000, Ricardo was a committee member of Cultuaztlan, a grassroots organization that helped bring cultural festivals and artist workshops into his home town of San Fernando, California. He went on to join Artino Arts group of Los Angeles receiving much recognition in the promotion of Latino art.
Ricardo and his wife Alma have lived together for 20 years and have raised three boys, Vincent, Matthew and Jacob. He enjoys working throughout the week and spending weekends with his family. His favorite time to paint is amidst the stillness and quiet of night. He considers his hours of creation to be a sacred practice that is divinely inspired. The Artist remarks, “I never know what a painting is going to come out like when I start. I don’t even know what style of brush strokes I’ll use, or what colors go where. There is a spirit, an ancient spirit much wiser than me that guides my brush and lets me learn what I am capable of.” The artwork of Ricardo Ortega is a manifestation of supernatural visions which appear in his conscience and with the grace of his talent and spiritual calling, we are able to experience the mystical union of spirit and art.
Ricardo shares a little bit of his knowledge with us when we asked him a few questions and this is what he had to say.
What inspired you to become an Artist?
It was the quest, the spiritual journey to find my inner self and dig for my roots which are planted in an ancient past. The artwork that was created throughout Mesoamerica, from the Olmecs to the Aztecs, was to honor the deities that ruled the Heavens, the Earth, and the Underworld. Everything was made with great precision, with the utmost sincerity, which is how I want to approach my art.
Where are your parents from and where were you raised?
My father, Jesus, was born in Guanajuato, he is the one who taught me about strength and hard work with perseverance. My mother, Lucia, was born in Oaxaca and she is the one who introduced me to spirituality and prayer and bought me my first sketch book, which I believe was a mothers intuition. My parents bought a house in Pacoima, California, where I spent my childhood, always drawing to hone my skill.
How would you classify your artwork?
My work has been classified as Neo-Classical Mexica. I have a great admiration for the old Masters, such as Rembrandt and Velazquez and I love the work of Alma Tadema. My paintings have a European style with ancient indigenous Mesoamerican themes, which blend like the hybrid of my culture with the amalgamation of Spanish and Indigenous blood. I am grateful for the history and culture which Mexico has produced and thankful to be a Chicano in the United States.
How has art affected your life?
My art has awoken me to have reverence for life. My creations are a way to fight the destruction for our Mother Earth, to fight human greed, hatred and ignorance. I live a very quiet life in a humble home that I share with my beautiful wife, raising three sons. I am truly grateful for each moment which life has to offer and I thank the Great Creator for offering me this talent which allows my soul to enter this spirit of creativity, joining with all the artists throughout history, culturally representing my Mexican heritage, spiritually and artistically.