Carlos’ artistic practice combines film, photography, music and audio to address issues of structural discrimination, violence, poverty, migration, marginalization and human rights. His work has always revolved around what he calls the beautiful struggle: life after death, family stories, human resilience and bridging the spaces between these subjects.

Working from a sociological and social justice perspective, he is inspired by imagery, sound, news events, landscapes and contemporary socio-political issues.

Carlos makes every effort to connect to human beings and generate a feeling of empathy for the people that we usually overlook, including people who are both victims and perpetrators of violence.

My work is informed by social science theories of social problems, which allows me to think critically about the world around me. Ultimately, I am a humanist who seeks to understand and build bridges through visual images, sound and emotions.

Project Proposal | Between the Lines

In light of recent high-profile shootings in Sacramento, the rest of the state and the country, Carlos Javier Ortiz’s project Between the Lines presents an examination of the Ferguson Effect while exploring aspects of trust surrounding police-citizen relations. The artist will create a visual ethnographic short-film that offers an unprecedented look into the lives of residents of Del Paso Heights and South Sacramento affected by the recent spike in violent crimes, and how they negotiate their lives with the police and community.

Field Notes

During my fellowship I have been working with Cid Martinez, a dear friend and sociology professor at the University of San Diego. We have spent time interviewing community members, clergy, police, social workers and everyday people. Every time we go out the stories become more in depth and fascinating. 

Video footage from Stephon Clark's funeral and a funeral goer speaking about the first time he met Stephon. Stephon Clark was shot and killed on the evening of March 18, 2018, by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department in Sacramento, California, United States.

Hear from Jamier Sales in this short clip from Carlos' project Between the Lines. Jamier Sales is an educator, community leader, and activist with deep roots in Sacramento. A member of the Party for Socialism Liberation (PSL), Jamier fights for vulnerable, Black and Latino communities in the area. He focuses on police brutality, economic exploitation, and immigration rights. Jamier is a young leader trying to make Sacramento a better place.

Thus far, I’ve been to Sacramento five times to immerse myself in the community that is struggling to deal with the aftermath of Stephon Clark’s death. I am scheduled to return to the community at least twice in June 2018. I have scheduled meetings with advocates and activists including members of the clergy, Black Lives Matter, and police. The purpose of these meetings is to get a better understanding of the long standing tensions between low income and communities of color and the police. During the visits I conduct interviews, take field notes, record sound and video and take still images. The community has raised several themes including: long simmering tensions that have been typically ignored particularly between the police and low income minority communities; dismantling the negative effects of capitalism, poverty and homelessness in Sacramento; and making sure that Stephon’s death is not in vain.

Community members from across Sacramento protest the police killing of Stephon Clark at City Hall.

Previous Work