We had the good fortune of connecting with Michael Kortez and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Michael, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I feel that risk taking is an integral part of what I do, It’s a part of my Drawings, Paintings and even my Career. If you risk nothing, then you risk everything. In order to succeed one must be willing to put oneself in the fire constantly. I feel it’s really the only way to grow and learn, Comfort will get you nowhere. When I’m creating I’m always pushing as far as I can push. Sometimes the experiment fails, But when it works its really something special. Taking risks isn’t easy and it takes hard work to come out the other end unscathed. But if your steadfast and work past it, you’ll be glad you did! In the end we only regret the chances we didn’t take. Be courageous in your endeavors, all else will follow.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
From the first time I picked up a crayon I knew from that moment on that I was going to be an Artist. It happened that quickly for me, I just knew that it was gonna be the rest of my life. By age eight I was already doing Oil Pantings and showing them publicly. I just kept doing it, and most everyone told me I’d starve being a creative. I didn’t care to listen to what they had to say, the way I saw it was either sink or swim/rags or riches I was gonna create my way through this life that I was givin. By the time I graduated High School my mother was adamant that she wanted me to go to college. I agreed with only one stipulation that it be Art School, she wasn’t very happy about that but agreed in the end with the condition that she’d pay for my school so long as I kept up my grades and graduated. I fulfilled the agreement and graduated from Art School with a degree in Graphic Design. I took what I had learned in Art School and started painting even more. Eventually selling my work to people by word of mouth and through Galleries. It just spread and more and more people were interested in what I was doing. I was far from rich but I was making enough to eat and keep a roof over my head, I was earning a living. During this time I started getting Tattooed, I was soo obsessed with the idea that I could wear a work of Art on my skin till death do me part! I literally got Tattooed as often as I possibly could. The more I got Tattooed the more I got interested in the craft. So I began looking for an Apprenticeship. At the time it wasn’t as easy as it is today to be a part of the Tattoo game. It literally took 7 years of searching!….I almost quit before I even started. But right as I was about to quit, Shanghai Kate found me and took me under her wing. It’s been 13yrs now that I’ve been Tattooing professionally and I’m eternally great full that it found me. It’s become my life intertwined with my Drawing and Painting.

Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The perfect day in LA for me would be waking up at 6am and going on a two hour hike through hills of Griffith Park. Grab a bite to eat at Home Restaurant or La Abeja. Check out Luz De Jesus or Bergamot Station and see what Art is current. Maybe go to Jetrag Vintage and see if we score on some cool threads. Pick up some food from Green Leaves Vegan (To Go) and head up to Will Rogers State Beach sit and eat while watching the sun set over the ocean. These are some of my favorite places in Los Angeles, I frequent them as much as possible.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The first two people that come to mind when I’m asked this question is always Howie Pyro and Shanghai Kate. Both have been great mentors and an inspiration in my personal life and within my Art. They have guided me and pushed me to be the person I am today. I’d be nowhere without their guidance and friendship. And for this I am forever in debt for all the love they have always had for me! My love and gratitude goes out to them.

Instagram: @michael_kortez
Other: Email: michael_kortez@yahoo.com