Though viewers may not know the narratives of Karla Ortiz’s painted and drawn figures, her absorbing pieces inspire conjecture. Outside of her fine art work, Ortiz is a concept artist for Marvel Film Studios, and in the past, Industrial Light & Magic and Ubisoft. She’s also illustrated products for Wizards of the Coast and Tor Books. All speak to Ortiz’s talent for storytelling, even when the subjects are unfamiliar to the viewer.
Ortiz recently had a solo show at Spoke Art in San Francisco, titled “Chimerical.” The collection consisted of both oil paintings on panel and graphite drawings on paper. In each of these mediums, a brooding and fantastical nature emerges. Ortiz is influenced by esteemed practitioners of figurative art, from Norman Rockwell to Swedish artist Anders Zorn. The gallery expounds on her influences: “Victorian aesthetics, cinematic framing, pre-Raphaelite painters and artists from the Golden Age of Illustration also figure prominently in Ortiz’s influences that contribute to her mastery of light and drafting.”
Thematically, there’s a sense of defiance that exists in each of these pieces, though they seem to differ in period backdrops and attire. The artist is used to inhabiting varying fantasy worlds, from Magic the Gathering to cosmic comic book characters.