Fred Ortiz was born and raised in Nambe, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. After earning a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of New Mexico, he began to create vessels in bronze. Working with a well-known foundry, he began to cast and sell his work throughout the country. His work has now been collected for over thirty years, and he has designed and produced many commissioned pieces for a diverse list of clients.
For many years, Governor Bruce King of New Mexico awarded Fred’s work to such dignitaries as President Jimmy Carter, Princess Anne of England and King Juan Carlos of Spain. Commissioned pieces include appointments for the interiors of customized aircraft belonging to The Sultan of Brunei, The King of United Arab Emirates, The King of Jordan, Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal, Adnan Khasshogi, Mobil Oil Company and Citibank.
He was chosen to design and make the awards for The Night of 100 Stars at Radio City Music Hall. The Clinton-Gore Inaugural Committee and the Bush-Cheney Inaugural Committee both chose Fred Ortiz to design and make gifts for their inaugural events.
Among organizations that Fred designed and cast awards for are The Council of Energy Resource Tribes, Native Americans in Philanthropy, The US/Mexico Chamber of Commerce, The Civil Engineers Research Foundation, Los Alamos National Laboratory, and many others.
Fred Ortiz on his artistic process:
“Most art pieces are created by an artist, a rubber mold is made and then melted wax is poured into the mold to make a duplicate of the original. This wax then is put through the process of converting it into bronze. Due to the fact that a mold is made, multiple castings can be made from one original sculpture, called an edition.”
“When I create a bronze pot or cross, I usually start with a turquoise stone that I like and then build a pot or cross around it. The basic difference between my work and the traditional way of making art pieces, is that I make all of my sculptures as originals. I do not make molds and then cast editions, I make one piece, cast it and then create a different piece. All of my pots and crosses are signed and engraved with the number 1/1, which means this is an edition of one, there are no duplicates.”
To make a pot or cross, after I decide on a stone, I sculpt a wax original by laying out wax rods to make a cross or coiling wax rods to make a pot. Every piece is constructed one level at a time until a completed pot or cross takes shape.”
“After the basic shape is made, I start the difficult part of sculpting the design that will make the piece what it is. The interesting part is that each piece tells you what the design should be as you work on it. Sometimes I start with a design in mind, but end up with a design that is totally different. I never know from one piece to the other.”
“Once the wax piece is complete, we begin the conversion from wax to bronze. The wax piece is continually dipped in a liquid solution and then sand is sprinkled on it. This is done for a few days until there is a thick wall of hardened sand encasing the wax.”
“The next stage is heating the sand-encased wax until the wax is melted out and leaves a cavity in the sand in the shape of the original wax. Melted bronze is then poured into the sand mold and allowed to cool. Once that occurs, the sand is blasted off the bronze and the finishing process begins. Having been finishing metal for many years, I employ methods and materials that I have been able to perfect and that are not available to other metal finishers.”
”Once the piece is perfectly polished, I apply a clear coat to prevent tarnish, apply patina to the background and attach the stone. I then sign and number the bottom. “