Winter is Coming…to MBA Part2: Randy Ortiz Interview

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Here is part 2 of our trip to the Great White North…

      Continuing our artistic tour of the great white north with Winnipeg’s  Randy Ortiz.    You can see from just a brief sample of Randy’s work that his creative process is very well thought out.  You can also see from skimming this interview that he is also fucking hysterical.  Randy is quick to make light of his process, but his fantastic designs speak for themselves, and speak volumes.  I Highly recommend paying attention to his Facebook page for the next opportunity to profess your dirty love for him in an effort to obtain some of his fantastic art.  If that does not work I think he still accepts cash (American or whatever Canadians use for money…it might be hockey pucks).  

What was your first paying art job?
I think my first gig poster for a local show called “Slamfest” was my first paying job. That or I was allowed in for free or something, I can’t remember. Local legends Malefaction, Figure Four, Electro Quarterstaff and KEN mode played this show back in 2004. My work sucked so much back then.


Electro Quarterstaff Rocks, and its a great name.
EQ is certainly a talented bunch. My good friend, Ben Bonner , does all their artwork. If you think my stuff is enjoyable, please check him out as well. The vibrant colours of his work has been known to give people sugary sweet mouth ulcers. Definitely gives Skittles a run for their money.


On your website Damn The Design  you often show the progression of your art.  I think this is awesome.  Do you do feel that it is important to show the evolution of the design?  It’s not so much important, but more about how fun it is to flip through. It’s like watching a deformed child grow. It gives the audience a sense of attachment and investment in some way and I think that gives a certain piece more meaning.


Do you ever look back on parts of the evolution and see other possible directions that could have been taken, or was the end clearly in sight from the beginning.
In most of my work, I have no idea what I’m doing. I kinda black out early in the drawing process and when I wake up, the work is done and I’m left baffled at how I ended up there.


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Who are your artistic influences?
There’s way too many to list, but off the top of my head: Aaron Horkey, Matthew Woodson, Ken Taylor, Jean Giraud, Vania Zouravliov, Chris Ware, Charles Burns…


Tell us about your studio space.
My studio space is crammed into my tiny bedroom in an apartment located in an area of Winnipeg that smells like poo most of the time. They’re about to start construction on a new condo right next door, directly across from my bedroom window and I feel I might want to move soon. If anyone knows of a place for rent near my area, that is relatively cheap and allows cats, please let me know.


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Take us through a typical workday in your life.
I set my alarm for 9:30am and hit the snooze until it’s 10:30/11:00. I roll over slightly to my right side, which causes me to fall out of bed and directly into my studio space. I then read my emails and sigh deeply at the realization that I’ve dicked around too much the past few days and now have to rush on some work. Then I take a huge dump, brush my teeth and make some coffee, eggs and bacon. After three hours of eating my breakfast and watching netflix, I finally get to work. This usually consists of opening up a Photoshop file to draw a few lines, then stop to spend 2 hours trying to find the best podcast to listen to. I then give that up and decide to surf netflix again for 2 hours instead. When I finally find a movie to watch, I remember that I’m still in my underwear and then I ponder whether or not I should put on pants. This takes approximately 30 minutes to decide, but I usually browse through Reddit at the same time. Two birds with one stone, nah mean? At this point it’s dinner time and I have another realization that I forgot to make my paleo meal in the slow cooker earlier in the morning and now I have to cheat on my diet yet again with donuts and coffee while perfectly good meat and vegetables that I bought two weeks prior spoil in the fridge. I then draw like a mad man while stuffing my face with garbage and sugar and caffeine until 3am. I then shove my cat off my side of the bed (where he sleeps the entire time this is all happening) and go to sleep on my mattress stuffed with the millions of dollars I make doing art.


What materials do you use?  How much of your work (if any) gets done on the computer?
These days all my work is done digitally with the use of a Wacom Cintiq 24HD. I’m addicted to the undo command and I’m not ashamed of it.


When working on artwork for bands ( like Intronaut ), do you get a lot of direction?
I work a lot better when it’s just my ideas, but occasionally I’ll get direction from the band. There have been times where I cut the project short due to moronic ideas that go nowhere, though. Kill fee, kids. Always have a kill fee in your contracts. Sacha from Intronaut was awesome to work with. He had a vague idea to start with and then I just took it from there.


Do you draw inspiration from the bands music?
Not really, unless I’m doing work for a Tijuana Brass band.

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Do you use reference materials?
Life is my reference material. Why do you think I spent a year in the Amazon studying Emperor Tamrin monkeys and eating nothing but twigs and grub worms? For scientific research? Nah, muh. It was for a new print that I’m currently doing.


I anxiously await that print.  I assume it will not come cheep.
It’s the most affordable yet most costly print ever made. To obtain one, you must offer me your life. The price is equal to blood spilled.


You recently had a give-away on Facebook where you asked people to profess their love to you.  What was the winner’s entry?  ( I did read this right?  That wasn’t a drunken hallucination?)
The winner was picked randomly, so I don’t really remember if their love proposal was tantalizing or not. I was extremely disappointed in the lack of response from the ladies, but that’s a given. Women don’t seem to respond well to creepy Asian men who offer artwork in exchange for meaningless words of passion on a public forum. Oh well. The majority of responses were from grown men and they were absolutely disgusting yet hilarious.

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What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on myself as a person and trying to overcome my insecurities and crippling social anxiety. I find being a freelance illustrator does NOT help with this at all. Oh wait, you mean what am I drawing these days? I got a few commissions for poster prints coming up as well as some top secret stuff that I cannot reveal just yet. I also have a gallery show in NY coming up in October with 3 other rad dudes that I’m really excited about. As far as band work goes, I don’t have much coming up other than more shirt designs for my friends in KEN mode, so if they’re rolling through your town in their upcoming tour, please pick up a shirt and help pay for their gas/food expenses!


What are your all time favorite bands, and what are you listening to right now?
I don’t really listen to metal anymore, to be honest. I tend to listen to more chill shit like Tycho, Stebmo, Sven Libaek, Library Tapes or Janko Nilovic. However, these days I find myself wanting to listen to podcasts rather than music.


Do you have any “Dream Projects”?
I’m sorta moving away from doing music related projects and property stuff and focusing more on doing my own thing, which is coincidentally a dream project in itself.

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What advice would you give to an artist that is looking to design for bands?
Make friends in the music scene that you can practice making designs for. Hopefully that band won’t suck and they’ll recommend you to other bands. NEVER work for free. It only cheapens the profession and further perpetuates the belief that all artists should be starving. No matter how tempting it is to work for ‘exposure’ never do it. That’s a bullshit excuse for cheapness. You can’t pay your bills with the 10 new Facebook likes that the band gets you.

Have a contract in place to protect your ass and have everything lined out in specifics as to what you are going to do so there is no misunderstanding.

Above all, assess what you think you’re worth and never back down.


Randy, this was a fantastic interview and I really enjoyed letting you speak your mind.  You are a very talented artist and I look forward to degrading myself on facebook for future prints of your work!

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About Undisputed Mattitude

Played guitar for multiple Thrash/Death/Hardcore bands around the NYC area. Worked for Wizards of the Coast. Currently working in Advertising. Can wear a different Slayer T Shirt every day for a month.