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Walker Reader

Virgil Ortiz

Virgil Ortiz is a potter whose work blends historic events with science fiction and fantasy; his imagery is both ultramodern and futuristic, dynamically combining clay, graphics, fashion, video, and film. Ortiz’s works have been exhibited in museums worldwide, including the Stedelijk Museum-Hertogenbosch, The Netherlands; Paris’s Fondation Cartier pour I’art Contemporain; the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian; the Virginia Museum of Fine Art; and the Denver Art Museum. Ortiz’s grandmother, Laurencita Herrera, and his mother, Seferina Ortiz, were both renowned Cochiti Pueblo potters. He grew up in a creative environment in which storytelling, collecting clay, gathering wild plants, and producing figurative pottery was part of everyday life. His segue from pottery to fashion design was inevitable. The geometric and traditional Cochiti pottery designs are bold and graphic, yet simple, and present the perfect combination for Ortiz's fabric design and textiles. "In my teenage years, I started sketching fabric prints, and my pottery designs came through by lending themselves onto garments in an unexpected way," Ortiz says. "I tweaked and enhanced my designs knowing that they would be distributed on a larger scale, thus reaching an entirely new audience in the fashion world."

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