Virgil Ortiz

Virgil Ortiz
Virgil Ortiz

Virgil Ortiz was born into Cochiti Pueblo in 1969. He learned the traditional art of making pottery from his mother, Seferina Ortiz, and he says now "The thought has never crossed my mind to be anything other than an artist and fashion designer. Art is in my blood."

When he was 14 years old he won his first prize for pottery at the Santa Fe Indian Market. He was established as a successful working artist by the time he was 16. By then he was producing pottery and selling at different shows.

He saved his money and started traveling with a friend: Los Angeles, Chicago, New York City. He got involved in the nightlife and saw many people with piercings and tattoos. Those piercings and tattoos reminded him of traditional Cochiti pottery figures produced in the 1800's. "I was inspired to create images of what I saw, it gave me a freedom knowing that I was not an innovator or even going outside of tradition, I was in fact a Revivalist," he says.

Virgil collaborated with designer Donna Karan in 2003, developing textiles patterned on his bold hypergraphic designs. In 2006 he established his own fashion line, Indigene.

Lisa Holt is Virgil's niece.

Pierced and tattooed circus performer figure
Standing tattooed and pierced circus performer
14.5 in H by 11 in Dia
Tattoo design on a black and white circus figure
Black and white circus figure with tattoo design
11.75 in H by 7 in Dia
Cross on a polychrome Singing Priest figure
Polychrome Singing Priest figure with a cross
10.5 in H by 7.25 in Dia
Polychrome bust
A polychrome bust
9.25 in h by 8 in Dia
Dangling earrings on a black and white circus ringmaster figure
Black and white circus ringmaster figure with dangling earrings
16 in H by 12.75 in Dia
Geometric design on a polychrome circus figure bust
Polychrome circus figure bust decorated with a black and white geometric design
15 in H by 14.25 in Dia
Measurement includes custom stand
Polychrome circus performer figure with two faces
Two-faced polychrome circus performer figure
17.5 in h by 9.75 in Dia
Measurement includes custom stand
Mudhead figure in black on white
Black and white mudhead figure
16.25 in H by 12.25 in Dia
Measurement includes custom stand
One-legged standing circus figure
Tattooed one-legged standing circus figure
16.5 in H by 12.75 in Dia
A black and white mask with a circus performer tattoo design and a custom stand A circus performer tattoo design on a black and white mask supported by a custom stand
10.25 in Y by 8.25 in Dia
Measurement includes stand
A polychrome two-headed opera singer A polychrome opera singer with two heads
9 in H by 7.75 in Dia
What a conquistador looked like to the Cochiti warriors
The conquistadors looked like this to Cochiti warriors of the time
22.5 in H by 10 in Dia

Cochiti Pueblo Potters