Thursday, March 8, 2012

Subterfuge Studios Project: Episode 3: Alex Ortiz

Subterfuge Studios Project is a blog series aimed at providing glimpses into the studios and spirits of an eclectic mix of local artists. Whether they be painters, writers, musicians, performers, designers, or crafters, each artist featured in SSP has agreed to share his or her personal space with you, the reader. All bio and interview questions are answered in the artist's own words. 

In this episode, Alex Ortiz, a young, aspiring visual artist, shares her toy-filled, inspirational bedroom/studio.

Alexandra Ortiz a.k.a Alex


I carry sketchbooks everywhere to draw. I paint nearly every day. I also experiment in collage, sewing, sculpture, and poetry. At Cal State Bakersfield, and as I meet other artists out in the world, I am introduced to new mediums all the time. As I explore new mediums, I find some are more dangerous than others, and would advise beginners to proceed with caution, maybe even proceed with gloves and goggles.

Studio name:

The Fortress of Solitude. I spend a lot of my time here, most of it is alone. Because of the size of this space, and the odd hours I create art, I don't often have visitors. I create late at night, or in the morning, or in the afternoon, whenever I am inspired and have some free time, or when I make free time to carry out my inspiration.

My studio is in South East Bakersfield. It shares the space of my bedroom. 

Studio dimensions: 

10' x 11' 

Favorite feature:  

There are so many great features to my studio, but I would have to say the best is my easel. It's one of a kind. Before I built [it] I was using thin display easels, or leaning canvas against the wall, or putting canvas on the floor to paint. These methods were okay at the time, but this easel is sturdier and enables me to paint on larger canvases. And no one else can use this easel because it does, indeed, bite, because it is converted from a sculpture of a spider.

More info at:

1. English or Math?

English all the way. English is how we communicate and can be an art form. Words inspire me. Words that interest me, or adjectives that remind me of longer stories, become titles of my art work or become poetry I write.

2. What kind of toys did you play with, as a kid? 

I played with Barbies, Legos, puzzles, and so many stuffed animals. I made forts out of pillows and blankets with my brother and sister. I had an Easy Bake Oven when I was a kid, but put it away when I found out the real oven made more goodies at once. I also got the first strain of Pokemon cards. There were always crayons and coloring books; always watercolors to doodle with. Sometimes, on regular books, I would find a blank page at the very beginning or end and color on that, too.

I like to keep a few small toys around to remind me to not always take things too seriously.

3. Favorite locally owned restaurant:

Bill Lee’s Bamboo Chopsticks. I start with some hot tea. Next, I get a bowl of egg flour soup with oyster crackers. I read the Chinese zodiac to compare mine with whoever I am with. I like the crunchy noodles with sprouts; the fried rice is good too. Entrees I enjoy are the Egg Foo Young, Sweet & Sour spare ribs or shrimp. Anything you get there tastes great.
Bill Lee’s is located at 1203 18th Street, Bakersfield CA 93301.

4. Describe a recurring dream/nightmare?

I often dream I am driving. Sometimes up hill, sometimes down. Sometimes I drive on the freeway or in the country. Sometimes I dream of sitting in a parked car or trying to get into my car. Every now and then, friends will make cameos in my dreams. In real life I love driving and always enjoy a good road trip or just to cruise. 

5. Personal soapbox:

An important charity in town is Bakersfield AIDS Project. BAP works to promote AIDS awareness and prevention in Kern County. Ricky’s Retreat is a home, through BAP, for persons living with AIDS, who need hospice/a transitional home where they can stay as long as needed. Bakersfield AIDS Project is a non-profit organization that can always use help from the public in donating hygiene items, time, or funds.
For more information see

A philosophical perspective of mine is to be generally optimistic and open to new experiences. Try to catch opportunities when they come, or make your own. Taste new foods. Explore new sounds of music. Gaze up at a huge painting (or a tiny one) and let it fill you with its beauty, or let it inspire you to do better. New food, new music, new art is being created daily by tons of people all over the place. If you haven’t seen, or tasted or experienced any, look for some. If you’re not satisfied with what you see, make some of your own. Try cooking something without a recipe or pick up an instrument. Make messes, clean them up, and make more messes. I don’t claim to have invented this philosophy, but I am trying to use it.

And, as always, don’t forget to color.

[Ed. note: Alex Ortiz is a member of The Foundry; she, and her art, can be found downtown on First Fridays and at other special art events.]


  1. I love insights into what an artist thinks and Alex is a favorite of mine. Thanks for doing this blog.

  2. I wanted to make a note. I was referencing John Baldessari's "I will not make any more boring art" in the chalkboard painting. :)