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ADVANCING THE ARTS ACROSS MARYLAND

ROBERT ORTIZ

ROBERT ORTIZ

Artist Work

Ceremonial Tea House
11/2001
sculpture / wood / architectural
85 high by 54 wide by 55 deep
Two Sofia Library Benches
November 2006
Wood
96 by 17 by 19 High
Koa Low Table
August 2009
wood
42 X 42 X 18
Daniel Entry Table
July 2011
wood
58 long by 17 deep by 34 high

Artist Information

County
Kent County
Artistic Category

Visual Arts

Artist Statement

My mother and father, born on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico, came to New York in 1939. I grew up in Greenwich Village where I studied classical piano beginning at age five. The process and discipline of making furniture is not unlike that of making music. Measure upon measure the craftsman builds a piece, one note, one joint at a time. With patience and dedication, the goal is to achieve a well arranged and orchestrated piece, perhaps even a work of art. Both crafts demand discipline and dedication, attention to detail and nuance and a respect for the creative process. Early on in my woodworking career, I was inspired by the works of George Nakashima and Thomas Moser. My furniture incorporates the two major influences that most inform my woodworking. The first is the furniture of the Shaker Communities of the early 19th Century. Theirs is a furniture rooted in the “New World”, unpretentious, exquisitely proportioned and built with native woods. The second is the asthetic and temple carpentry that I was introduced to in Mr. Nakashima’s book, The Soul of a Tree. This work celebrates form and line, detailed and exposed joinery and a quiet, understated elegance. The furniture that I design and build attempts to marry these two styles in a contemporary manner.

Artist Bio

1997 – present Opened Chestertown Studio – unveiled “The Sofia Line” 1987 – 1997 cabinet maker – Baltimore, Maryland Teacher, beginning woodworking for Craftwoods Inc. 1985 – 1987 apprentice cabinetmaker – Baltimore, Maryland 1981 – 1985 The Woodbourne Center – Residential Treatment Center Last Position Held – Co Director of Residential Treatment Services 1977 – 1981 musician/singer/songwriter – college coffee house circuit 1972 – 1976 high school teacher - Spanish/Theology 1964 – 1971 Member De La Salle Christian Brothers Religious Teaching Order Entered at age 14 left Senior year of College 1955 - 1962 studied piano and dance beginning at age 5 Education B.A. The Catholic University of America Major – Spanish Literature Minor – Theology & Education Awards 2000 Arts Academy Museum (Easton, Maryland) Best Body of Work at Arts Marketplace Juried Show 2002 Philadelphia Furniture and Furnishings Show Fine Woodworking Magazine 1st Place Award Best New Artist in Wood 2003 Arts Academy Museum - Best in Show at Arts Marketplace Juried Show