We had the good fortune of connecting with Joe Ortiz and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Joe, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
When it come to creating art or music, there is no end goal. The work itself is what matters. Make it, admire or detest it, then move on and make the next one. I don’t know if I’ll die today or when I’m 100, so I get busy now and create. The closest thing to a goal is the constant feeling that I must get whatever is in me out or it will never exist. You can’t get back a wasted minute. Enjoy life and the creative process now. I make no money on my art, in fact I lose money and I don’t care. I will likely always have a real job and die unable to retire. I don’t make art for a career. If someone else enjoys my work, that’s fine with me. If no one enjoys my work, that’s fine with me. I do this for me.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Clockpole is my band and main focus since Halloween Eve 2009. Clockpole is a free form anarchy party band. I am the only constant member. Hundreds of people have been in and out of Clockpole for various lengths of time. Every art project I do, music and visual, falls under the Clockpole umbrella. Clockpole musicians and instrumentation changes each performance and sonically Clockpole has sounded like RockNRoll, Noise, Doom Metal, Electronic, Improv, Experimental, Lounge, Punk, Funk, Tribal, Grindcore, Atmospheric. Whatever Clockpole feels like doing on a whim, we go for it. Clockpole has played big festivals, hipster clubs, gay bars, the gravesite of Pantera’s Dimebag Darrell and Vinnie Paul, street corners, in front of the White House, on a sailboat, speakeasys, house parties, parades, the X where JFK was assassinated in Dallas, Roma’s Pizza, birthday parties, live on-air radio, nude gatherings, Metro light rail, and Crazy Oaks just to name a few places. Clockpole covered Parasite by KISS for a record featuring all Houston based bands that was released in 2014. in 2016, Ace Frehley from KISS released Origins Vol. 1 and rerecorded an updated version of Parasite. Ace’s new version sampled a part of the Clockpole version. Clockpole stole from Ace Frehley and Ace Frehley stole back. I inspired one of my heroes. Talk about validation. Halloween 2019 we self released a split seven inch vinyl record with Darwin’s Finches. The album art was based on photos we took and screen printed by hand in house. All our music videos are filmed on our cell phones, edited, and released by Clockpole members. In 2020 alone as of this writing, I’ve made 367 paintings; two murals; started my own music label, AuRh Records; self recorded and self-released an album by my side band, Powerbottom Nightmare on cassette; released two music videos for my main band, Clockpole; helped released an album on cassette by my friend Brighten Ryeli; self made buttons for myself and my friend’s bands; salvage fast food trash and print my own images on it; hand screened countless shirts for my bands; hand printed countless stickers; instax photography; and that’s only what I recall off the top of my head. I still have one week left before the end of the year to create. I try to make as many things as possible by myself or with the help of friends inside the Clockpole crew. This keeps me busy and keeps my spending to a minimum. It’s cheaper to print a shirt myself than to hire someone else to do it. For anyone that wants to make art but feels apprehensive, I say look at Clockpole. Clockpole is low budget and a mess but we get it done and have fun doing it. You don’t need to be good, you just need to do it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Sparkle’s Hamburger Spot, Taquerías El Alteño, Frank’s Pizza, Mogul’s, Brews Brothers, Henry’s in Galveston, Popston, Viet Express, Simply Pho, Bohemeo’s, taco trucks outside Montrose gay bars, my backyard grill for good food. Notsuoh, Super Happy Fun Land, any event by Southmorehouse Presents or Experimental Action for late night entertainment. Grab a bike and get lost wandering the streets and trails around Houston for daytime entertainment with a focus on hitting graffiti spots, Museum District, Buffalo Bayou, Herman Park, and graffiti spots.. Buy several pizzas and cases of beer for the homeless guys that live around downtown. Most people I know are closer to the guy on the street than the man in the mansion.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Much love to my Clockpole crew Mike “I’m In The Funeral Business” Clemmons, Billy Foisy, Joseph Underwood, Max Kushner; my Powerbottom Nightmare, AuRh Records, and music video creative partner Miss Oisín; Justin Clay/Morgan Moody/Cody Honey from Darwin’s Finches, Ken Dannelly from The Escatones, Chris Dunaway from Moths and Mockingbird Brother, Chris Gerhardt from Alexx Artificial, Brandon Peters from Man, The Robot for playing in Clockpole; the hundreds of other people that have played in Clockpole; Roger Tausz at Bong Island Sound; Super Happy Fun Land; Notsuoh; Experimental Action; Southmorehouse Presents; Austin Rhoads; Bonnie for loving me; Kelly for loving me; my mother Linda; you, you are important too, always remember that.