Ernesto Ortiz Leyva was born in El Paso, Texas and received his BFA from the California College of the Arts in 2005. He received an MFA degree in Drawing and Painting from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 2014. In 2017, Ernesto was the first ever Artist in Residence at Print Center New York. He currently teaches Visualization and Representation at Pratt Institute and also teaches Printmaking at Hunter College. He lives and works in New York City.
My work deals with societal conflict and violence as products of unchecked male virility and American cultural hegemony. I use the tension between violence and humor in my work to depict amalgams of cultural identity giving a historical context for the mass violence in contemporary American society and along its southern border. In service of this, I mine historical and cultural references that include the visual canon of medieval Christian imagery, 18th century colonial Spanish Casta paintings, cartoons, and comic books to depict fictional battles on the Mexican-American border and to satirize Anglo-Saxon cultural hegemony.