Luis Montoya & Leslie Ortiz
Luis Montoya and Leslie Ortiz both traveled widely, studied hard and worked extensively before their paths crossed and they began a creative partnership that has last for more than a quarter of a century.
Together, Montoya and Ortiz create large paintings and bronze sculptures, which most often focus on food. Their work is sensual, full of humor and surreal. They control the entire process, beginning with the design, through the casting process and finishing each piece with unique patinas.
Leslie Ortiz was born in West Palm Beach. Her father was in the Air Force, and so the family traveled extensively and moved often. Ortiz’ interest in pursuing art as a career began in high school. She received a scholarship to the Boston University School of Fine Art, where she graduated Magna Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in sculpture.
Her plan, after graduation, was to visit her father, who was stationed in the Netherlands, and to backpack through Europe. It was a trip that influenced the course of her life and career.
One of Ortiz’ professors had given her a letter of introduction to American sculptor Floyd Dewitt, who was living in Amsterdam. Dewitt encouraged her to apply to the prestigious Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (State Academy of Fine Arts) and arranged an interview. Ortiz was accepted and studied at the Academy for four years. She said that those four years of study shaped her future.
Ortiz returned to the United States and looked for work. She answered an ad, placed by Luis Montoya, who was looking for help in his West Palm Beach studio and foundry. Ortiz began working in the studio in 1985. Their partnership began in 1994 and continues to this day.
Luis Montoya was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. His grandfather was a well known sculptor in Madrid, who encouraged Montoya to follow in his footsteps and study sculpture.
His natural talent earned him a place in the Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where his grandfather and other prestigious artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Oscar de la Renta and Fernando Botero had studied.
After receiving both his Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts from San Fernando, Montoya continued his education at the Institute of Applied Arts in Madrid, traveled to London, Florence and New York under the auspices of the Castellblach Foundation Independent study program and did his post-graduate studies at Kent State in Ohio.
Montoya’s reputation in Spain, as a fine sculptor, had been established but, instead of returning home, Montoya remained in the United States.
He established a fine art foundry, a sculptor supply store and established the Sculpture Department at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, where he taught for many years.
The works of Leslie Ortiz and Luis Montoya can be found in the public collections of the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington, the Society of the Four Arts in Palm Beach, the Weidner Center for the Performing Arts in Green Bay, Wisconsin, the National Museum of Sculpture in Valladolid, Spain, the Circle of Fine Arts in Madrid, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and the Boca Raton Museum of Art.