Miami Hurricanes football is finally back, and with it comes new additions to the graphics team that works on UM athletics. We caught up with one of the new faces and spoke to him about his journey, his creative inspirations, and what it means to him to be a part of Miami tradition. Although young, Kevin Ortiz has had worked at Iowa State, Auburn, and now Miami. In addition to his graphic design work, he's an accomplished photographer.
We’ve got a good one... now lets hear from him.
Allow me to introduce Kevin Abdiel Ortiz.
Kev, tell us a little about your backstory… where are you from?
So my backstory would start where I consider home to be, Puerto Rico. Born and raised in the Island, I attended a high school called American School, played basketball there but I wasn’t scoring 30-40 a game so anything after that was out of the question. I went on to attend The University of Puerto Rico where I majored in Graphic Design, and where I really started finding my niche in the sports design world by doing some small sports related projects.
Ok, so how’d you become a Miami Hurricane fan?
The Miami Hurricanes have always had a great tradition when it comes to sports and just the pure recognition of the brand... Swagger is a big word associated with it and that’s one of the things I enjoy the most. Ángel Rodriguez, who used to play Basketball at the University of Miami, is Puerto Rican as well so that automatically gave me another reason to support the Hurricanes.
No doubt, so what can you tell us about your job with Miami? How did that come about?
I’ll start this off by saying that Miami’s portfolio and social presence in the Sports Design world goes real far. I found out about the Miami job through social media, and when I looked into it, it just made sense for me. I felt like my portfolio was good enough for me to apply and to ultimately get the offer. So if you ask me how it happened, I’ll tell you straight up it was all social media.
#Twitter for the win... So what will you do as a member of the team?
My official job title is Senior Graphic Designer for Athletics, I can’t go to far into the details with a day to day look at the job with me still being new, but i’m just looking forward to adding more to an already insanely talented and creative crew.
Changing jobs can be difficult at times, so with Auburn being your most recent employer what will you miss most about them?
I’ll definitely miss seeing co-workers daily because those work relationships grew into true friendships that I value. I know I’ll miss the relationships I built with the Coaches and the Student-Athletes in the respective sports I worked with.
I think having those good relationships definitely helped and has opened so many doors creatively. Student-Athletes are the driving force behind what I do, so being able to have them recognize who I am and just see me as someone they are cool with, definitely helped me create better content throughout my time there I’ll definitely miss that. I’ll also miss Moe’s BBQ Wings, so shoutout to them for having great wings.
War Eagle, Auburn. Been real, can’t express how much I’ve enjoyed working with these teams, coaches and getting to know these student-athletes. Appreciate all the trust and will always cherish the time. Catch you all later. pic.twitter.com/LYS2iDLBMa— Kevin Abdiel • (@openartz) July 14, 2019
As far as your craft, what is your favorite piece that you’ve created, and why?
My favorite piece I’ve created is tough but I’d have to go with the Men’s Basketball look for Auburn this past year. The background on this piece was hand painted alongside my Brother, Derik Ortiz, who is an abstract artist in Puerto Rico, so the fact that i could work on a concept with him just made it all so much more special. Once the graphics started going out on social media, the feedback was really good so it just made the time that we put on it be that much more worth it and I know it’s going to be something that both of us are going to treasure because we had never really done anything like that before.
That is definitely a dope piece, so how do you come up with concepts for your art?
I’d say I have a pretty wild mind that’s always kind of thinking and looking for inspiration everywhere, but majority of my inspiration comes from looking at the Car Industry creatives, Music Industry creatives and of course the Sports Creatives. For the most part i’ll take some free time during the week and just throw concepts together and see which one I like more and see how I can continue to build upon that, even if it doesn’t end up getting used for anything it keeps my mind going.
How can people learn more about you and your work?
You can also view my portfolio here: https://openartz.myportfolio.com/projects
Is there anything else you’d like to discuss?
Just gonna say that i’m looking forward to experiencing Athletics as an employee of the Miami Hurricanes and looking to continue to build upwards. #GoCanes #TNM