Studio Visit: 6/14/2008  

Dustin Ortiz : From Nixon to Idaho... and back.

I initially tracked down Dustin earlier this year, after falling in love with a painting of his, I saw at a friend's house.  Dustin was quick to return an email, but unfortunately was in Idaho snowboarding and taking a break from the fast paced California lifestyle.  So I waited, and thought about a three panel piece that would look great behind my couch...

All Photos by Carly Ealey

Zack: So you were in Idaho all winter..?


Dustin: yeah, I needed a break from California, I got really burnt out on everything... working, traffic, sunny weather, the whole thing.  One of my friends has an aunt, who has a place up in Idaho and he was going up there for the winter. He asked me if I wanted to go with him. It happened in like a week and a half span, got out of my lease, packed everything up and drove to Idaho.


Zack: How did you spend your time up in the mountains?


Dustin: Took a bunch of road trips, drove up to Oregon, Washington, Montana and then was in Utah and Idaho a lot, just snow boarding.  Spent a lot of time by myself. I wasn't working, so I would just hike, snowboard, paint, draw and design. I would do freelance work here and there, just to pay for my Top Ramen and food, but other than that I just did my own thing.


Zack: and how is it being back to the grind in California?


Dustin: Its funny how instantly you can switch gears and get back into it. I'm bummed that happened, I wanted to come back and kinda force something different on this lifestyle.

Zack: Did you grow up around here?


Dustin: I did. I grew up in Leucadia. Born and raised.


Zack: What's your day job?


Dustin: I work as a Senior Designer for this company called "NIXON", a watch company. Plus, I help out with a couple of clothing brands and a couple of skateboard brands.


Zack: How much time a week do you spend creating?


Dustin: I do design for work, so I have that during the day, painting at night time, and I have all these little side projects to do. I feel like I'm creating non-stop, but with just my paintings... probably, like, four nights a week.


Zack: Why do you show your art?


Dustin: There's a satisfaction with talking to people and hearing their point of views of my work. Everyone always want to know the meaning behind the painting, but I don't like to tell that. I enjoy knowing why they like it. It's really fulfilling to me.


Carly: What do you do if you're in a creative funk?


Dustin: Super frustrating when that happens. Play with my dog or go on a bike ride. I usually just try to get out of wherever I am.  Put my iPod on and get outside.


Carly: Are you more creative at night time?


Dustin: For me, I like it.  There's nothing going on, its really quiet, its usually colder out.  I can just zone out, put my music on and do my thing.

Zack: What are you listening to lately?


Dustin: Its pretty random. A lot of old stuff. I love modular records. I listen to Cut Copy a lot and a lot weird instrumental stuff. My friends play jazz, so I listen to jazz. I'll jump from some weird, instrumental techno song to Minor Threat. And the Beatles, I love the Beatles.


Zack: Do you have music on when you're painting?


Dustin: Oh yeah, you have to. I don't like silence really, so I always have music on while I'm going. I haven't noticed a change of what comes out from different music. I remember in art school we had whole experiments of the different music she'd be playing in the background when we painted and if it would change our style. We did a whole semester just like that, just switching the music up everyday.


 In the video below, Dustin discusses his artistic roots in Screen Printing and his new summer pants...

Dustin walks us through his artistic process


Tags: surf, Dustin Ortiz, Studio Visit, Artist Interview, Nixon, Resin, Art

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