Ortiz was a certified public accountant before being laid off in 2012; she had been taking photography courses on the side since 2008 and saw it as an opportunity to start a new career.
“It was like a turning point, and I said, ‘I’m going to do what I love,’” she said.
Ortiz then built a new photography studio in Dallas in 2014 and ran a successful business for five years before deciding to move to Austin in 2019; she eventually opened a new studio at the Galleria in January 2020. At the beginning of February, Ortiz relocated her studio to a new spot in the Galleria that she said is “more central.”
“I’ve already noticed more people stopping to look through my windows since I changed locations,” Ortiz said.
Her photography and gallery mostly features dogs; however, she said this is only part of her business as she also photographs families, families with their dogs, headshots for executives and high school seniors.While she does do traditional photography, Ortiz said her specialty is as a mixed-media artist and photographer.
“Mixed-media paintings are my signature product, and I’m the only one in Lake Travis who does them,” she said.
Mixed-media paintings are a three- to four-month process that involve taking the photos, painting the photo in a special software on the computer and then printing the photo and placing it on canvas to paint the photo by hand, she said.
Because the process involved in mixed-media art is so time-consuming, Ortiz only sees around 30-50 clients a year.
“What I do is a luxury,” she said. “But it’s also important because of the story I’m creating.”
Ortiz, who owns six rescue dogs, said she had this revelation when one of her dogs, Lexie, died in 2017.
“Dogs are like family, and they don’t live forever, but if you have a portrait done of your dog, they live forever,” she said.
She said everything she does is about creating a legacy.
“Portraits are all we have of our family when someone dies,” she said.
Ortiz also said she hopes to create lasting legacies through her work and donations to nonprofit organizations. In the last 10 years, she has raised $30,000 for various organizations, and she is working on raising money through her business for the American Heart Association and the Austin Humane Society.
“I’m very fortunate to be here at the Hill Country Galleria because I live here,” she said. “I’m very active in the community, and anyone who asks for a donation, whatever nonprofit it is, I will donate.”
Kim Ortiz Portrait Art
12700 Hill Country Blvd., Ste. S-120, Bee Cave
Hours: Tue.-Fri. 1-5 p.m., Sat. by appointment only, closed Sun.-Mon.