Luna Luis Ortiz: Fire Island Artist Residency Lecture Series
Cherry Grove Community House
Visual AIDS is proud to partner with the Fire Island Artist Residency (FIAR) for an artist talk by photographer and activist Luna Luis Ortiz, who will present his work in conversation with Visual AIDS Programs Director Alex Fialho. The Visual AIDS / FIAR lecture series brings Visual AIDS Artist+ Members who are leading figures in contemporary art to share their experience with the Fire Island community and the Fire Island residency artists at the Cherry Grove Community House through a partnership with the Arts Project of Cherry Grove.
Luna Luis Ortiz was born into art with a father whom had a fondness for photography in New York City 1972. Ortiz always had a flair for arts with drawing and painting. In 1986, he was infected with HIV at the age of 14 from his first sexual experience. Thereafter he picked up one of his father’s cameras and began the birth of his self-portraits as a way to leave images for the family as a remembrance and before he became the images of AIDS of the 1980’s.
In the late 1980’s Ortiz was a part of New York’s ballroom voguing scene and the club kids scene where his creativity for the arts flourished especially as a photographer. In 1988, he began his journey as an HIV awareness spokesperson for youth living with HIV at the Hetrick- Martin Institute. Over the years Ortiz has dedicated his life to HIV prevention and AIDS awareness for people around the world by appearing on MTV, VH1, PBS, Telemundo, NY1, MSNBC, ABC, Time Out with Magic Johnson and Arsenio Hall as well as Living in the Age of AIDS with Peter Jennings television specials.
Ortiz has received letters of appreciation from New York City Mayors Edward Koch and David Dinkins as well as the Distinguished Service Award from the State of New York. In 2015, Ortiz received The City of New York Proclamation from The City Council at City Hall for his 30 years of dedication in the fight against AIDS. HIV Plus magazines 20 Amazing HIV Positive Gay Men in 2014 as well as POZ magazine’s POZ 100 list of HIV/AIDS Celebrating Long Term Survivors also honored him in 2015. At the 10th Annual Visual AIDS Vanguard Awards Ortiz received The William Orlander VAVA Voom Award.
As a public speaker he has been invited to share his life story and art at New York University, Cornell University, Penn State University and Yale University, Jersey City Museum, Whitney Museum, Queens Museum and American Folk Art Museum.
As a photographer, Ortiz worked along side artists David LaChapelle, Nan Goldin, Shedrich Williames, Shawn Atkins, Frank Moore, Kehinde Wiley and Lisa Ross. He became a member of the Archive Project at Visual AIDS in 1995 under David Hirsh. Ortiz art has been included in exhibitions at New York galleries as well as the Boston Center of the Arts, Whitney Museum and the New Museum of Contemporary Art in NY. In 2001, he joined the permanent collection at the Kresge Art Museum at Michigan State University. His work graced such publications as The New York Times, The London Observer, The Advocate, POZ, The NY Daily News, OUT, Next, Huffington Post, VIBE, Gay Times (London), Teen People, BLUE, GLAAD Kissing Calendar and A&U.
He taught photography and art therapy at The Hetrick-Martin Institute, Home of the Harvey Milk High School from 2000 to 2007. He is one of the co-founders of the House of Frame by Frame Fierce; a project that teaches animation filmmaking to high risk youth as a form of activism. In 2007 the House of Frame by Frame Fierce received a Peabody Award for their work on a documentary short titled “I'm Not a Boy’ about the life of a transgender youth. From 2006- 2009, Ortiz was a spokes-model for the “HIV Stops with Me” campaign.
In 2007, Ortiz elevated his dedication to HIV prevention and youth work at Gay Men Health Crisis (GMHC). At GMHC, he works tirelessly on the agency’s social marketing campaigns as well as host youth workshops, conferences and health fairs to over 300 youth of color monthly. He also plans and gathers a committee of House and Ball members for the annual Latex Ball. The Latex Ball draws a crowd of over 2,500 participants from around the world. Ortiz also hosts “The Luna Show” on www.youtube.com/TheLunaShowNY that celebrates and preserves the ballroom history of the Latino and Black LGBT experience as well as HIV awareness.
Today, Ortiz continues to inspire and empower youth of color around the world with his story of survival with living with HIV for 30 years. His passions as a father of the House of Khan (whose members compete in the voguing competitions at the balls) give him the opportunity to continue to guide and support young people from the LGBT experience with love, compassion and care.
The Fire Island Artist Residency is an organization founded in 2011 which brings lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer identifying emerging artists to Fire Island, a place long-steeped in LGBTQ history, to create, commune, and contribute to the location's rich artistic history. FIAR provides free live/work space to five selected artist residents who work, research, relax, and immerse themselves in the Fire Island community, during which time they are visited by a handful of renowned visiting artists, curators, and art professionals who commune with residents through intimate visits, dinners, and discussions, providing support and feedback. The greater Fire Island community, and visitors from New York and Long Island, are invited to attend free public lectures by these esteemed guests of FIAR throughout the duration of the program. In this way, FIAR hopes to bring both new creative perspectives and prestigious art professionals together in this extraordinary location to foster the creation—and preservation—of queer art-making in contemporary art.