Southern California artist Paul Ortega started drawing at an early age. He would mimic cartoons and comic strips from the Sunday newspaper. Building on his artistic skills he continued by earning his Bachelor’s in Fine Arts from California State Fullerton with a degree in Graphic Design. “Since all my graphic design classes were so typography heavy, I started painting on the side to get away from the strict formality and rules of design,” Said Ortega.
Ortega uses all types of medium in his work; anywhere from charcoal to gold leaf, but almost all his work include spray paint and acrylic. “I feel like I have the most control over those mediums and anything else used is experimenting or specific to the project at hand.” Said Ortega.
Last year, the main focus of his work revolved around portraits. This year, he is going back to his design roots and adding a lot of typography to his work. He created a constructed script inspired by calligraphy, hieroglyphics, graffiti, and black letter to express himself freely in a font that is not easily legible to the untrained eye. Applying this aspect to his work adds a pattern like texture to the backgrounds in his pieces.
He is influenced by Shepard Fairey, Banksy, and Retna. With that influence he has painted portraits of Michael Jordan, Elvis, Jay Z, Muhammad Ali, and Frank Sinatra just to name a few.
Ortega, like many artists, have supported BlackBook Sessions’ mission to inspire and empower creative minds. BlackBook Sessions has been able to connect people to artists like Ortega who are making a living doing what they love.
To follow this featured artist you can check him out at the links and handles below…