Artist Spotlight 2023 – Chris Cortez

“Zero Gravity”

2023, oil on canvas, 48 in x 60 in

Ni Santa Ni Puta

Description2023, colored pencil on bristol, 16 in x 24 in

Los Enamorados

2021, oil on canvas, 40 in x 72 in

About the Works:

There are levels in life that are more difficult to complete than initially imagined. As a kid I used to say I wanted to be a videogame designer (still on the table.) There was nothing more comforting than turning on one of my consoles and escaping into an alternate reality with endless fabulous possibilities. Many queer people can relate to the feeling of euphoria when faced with the character selection screen and getting to pick the magical fantasy character that resonates with you the most. In certain cases, the overwhelming shame + dysphoria when either taunted or not allowed to be that fantasy figure. These are some of my earliest expansive memories of feeling very different.

Those core moments are early reminders of who we come to be later in life. Our tender selves are usually on a mission—with a purpose. We encounter obstacles that try to steer us, maybe even put us to a halt, but one thing about video games: the time comes where our hard work leads us to defeat the final boss. All of your effort is seen, and all it takes is that extra push to come out on top. The reward may be unclear at first, but the grandest is the feeling of keeping your faith no matter what. A reminder that no matter how difficult things get: you will always be that fantasy girl flying through the galaxy, on a mission to catch the stars, with infinite potential and love all around you.

About Chris Cortez:

Chris Cortez (b. 2000) is a Queer Mexican artist based in New York. Chris is a painter, seamstress, and performance artist whose work exists at the intersection of their infinite identity. Referencing pop culture and history to investigate fluid expression, Chris reminds us that in speaking authentically we can find the links that connect us to each other and to our own heritage. Chris further developed their practice in the BFA Fine Arts Department at the School of Visual Arts. Their life and art practice is heavily influenced by icons who have gone against all odds to live as their authentic selves and to perform life in a high fashion supermodel all day everyday, exaggerated and glamorous way. They explore a world that displays a framework of joy for their inner child while simultaneously encapsulating human fluidity. Their mission is to create art that transcends life, space, and time.