The Many Faces of David Ortiz y Pino

A street artist is finding a new path

By Mason Cassady

David Ortiz y Pino spends most days downtown, sitting on a bench in Oddfellows Alley on Kirkwood Avenue, between Blu Boy Chocolate and Farm Restaurant. It’s hard not to notice his hands as they scurry across flats of cardboard to create abstract drawings. At his feet, he displays his finished artwork to those walking by.

As he nears his 50th birthday, art has given him a new sense of identity and a new purpose on the streets of Bloomington. I sat down with Ortiz to talk about his drawing, and our conversation extended into the details of his life. Similar to faces he portrays with ink, Ortiz has lived a life of many faces.

Around Christmas of 2019, Ortiz was bored while sitting outside of JL Waters. A person walked by and made a remark about making something to give to people. This sparked a thought in Ortiz as he sat there, wondering what he could do with his time. “You know what… I could draw!” Ortiz told me as he recounts that wintery day, “I ran down to the dumpster to get some cardboard. I borrowed a couple markers and pens from a bartender at a restaurant on the corner and started drawing. I was on my third or fourth piece when some people walked by and wanted to buy one. I was shocked.” Ortiz continued in astonishment, “I’m still dumbfounded if I sell my art. I love the art that I create but the idea that other people like it and want to buy it is such a weird and cool feeling.” Read more

If you would like to make a donation to help purchase art supplies for David, please email