About the Artist
Luis Montoya and Leslie Ortiz have been working together since 1994. Their works are as unique and their collaboration. We asked them to tell us how their partnership came about, and Leslie was gracious enough to tell us about their backgrounds and how, almost twenty five years ago, they serendipitously became one of the most remarkable artistic duos in art history.
Their works can be found in the permanent collections of the National Museum of Sculpture, Valladolid, Spain, the Circle of Fine Arts in Madrid, the Tacoma Art Museum in Tacoma, Washington, Boca Raton Museum of Art, the Society of Four Arts in Palm Beach, the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach, the Charles A. Wustum Museum of Fine Art in Racine, Wisconsin and other fine venues.
They have created special commissions for both local venues, like the Palm Beach International Airport and international venues, including the Tokyo/Fuji Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
Here are their stories, as written by Leslie Ortiz:
I was born in West Palm Beach but was raised in many places. My father was in the Air Force so I was never in one place for very long. It was in high school that I was encouraged to pursue art in College. I received a scholarship to Boston University where I attended the School For the Arts. I chose to major in sculpture after my second year. After graduating from Boston University I travelled to Europe. My father was, at that time, stationed in the Netherlands. My initial plan was to backpack through Europe. However, before leaving BU, a professor gave me a letter of introduction to Floyd Dewitt, an American sculptor living in Amsterdam. Floyd encouraged me to continue my studies and enabled an interview for me with the Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam. I was accepted and studied there for four years. Those four years shaped my future. When I returned to the United States, I struggled with various forms of employment until I answered an ad for employment at Luis’ studio and foundry in 1985. In 1994, Luis and I began a collaboration that has lasted to this day.
Luis was born and raised in Madrid, Spain. His grandfather was an established sculptor in Madrid, and he influenced Luis to pursue an education in sculpture. At an early age, Luis was accepted into the renowned Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, where his grandfather, and prestigious artists such as Pablo Picasso, Salvador Dali, Oscar de la Renta and Fernando Botero, had studied. After receiving his BFA and MFA from San Fernando, Luis attended the Institute of Applied Arts in Madrid. This was followed by the Castellblach Foundation Independent study, which led him to London, Florence and New York. He continued his post-graduate studies at Kent State in Ohio.
Already established as an up-and-coming sculptor to watch in Spain, it wasn’t long before Luis established a career as a sculptor in the United States. A prolific artist, Luis also established the first fine art foundry in South Florida, opened a sculpture supply store and developed the Sculpture Department at the Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach and taught there for many years.