we were the meteors

dinosaurs killed the dinosaurs


This is a piece for the Dino Show at the Double Punch Gallery, San Fransisco. It’s larger than I’m normally used to (15 3/4″ x 19 3/4″). I had such a good experience working in this way that next time I’ll go even larger.

The only mandate for the show was that it had to be about dinosaurs. Initially I was thinking about spinning off of something like this but honestly, it was just too awesome to compete with. Somehow I found myself thinking about what exactly killed the dinosaurs, and then that phrase “guns don’t kill people, people kill people” floated into into my brain, the starchild from 2001: A Space Odessey came into the mix and there you have it. Truly, the process of creation is a mysterious one.

A couple of notes:

  • although he’s really small, there is an ankylosaurs – my favorite
  • I don’t know why I bothered to look it up, but that is pretty much the shape of Pangaea, the super continent
  • the continents had already separated by the time the meteor(s) hit
  • the meteors were probably not dinosaurs

Thank you Ryan for the invitation, I had a ton of fun working on this.

If you would like to know more about the show, and to inquire about the work, check out here and here.


new story, never ending

Oh hello, welcome to my new blog.

Atreyu meets Morla in the Swamp of Sadness


For those of you who have been with me since the college days at Rey-O Action News Go, you may have noticed that the frequency of posts has slowed down, and then pretty much stopped. Sorry about that, my bad. There are a lot of reasons why this is happening, which I’ll get into later, but for the time being, it’s enough to say that a change every now and then can be refreshing.

This is Swatting at Shadows.

But I’m probably getting ahead of myself here (how rude). Allow me to introduce myself, or reintroduce myself, depending on if you know me or not (how redundant).

My name is Rey Philip Ortega. Somewhere between my birth and now, I added in, rather embarrassingly, a Wolfieus. So it’s Rey Philip Wolfieus Ortega, but lets just keep that between you and me. I’m an artist by trade, but the specifics of what that job entails can vary wildly from day to day. In the past I’ve created work for ad campaigns. I’ve designed a t-shirt for a professional wrestler, and I’ve had my work in magazines like Juxtapoz and Fortune. These days I’ve been producing a regular comic strip for the blog Torontoist as well as gallery artwork for shows in the US and locally.

Basically I draw stuff.

I come from a family of merchants and farmers, both my mother and father came to Canada from the Philipines and found each other here. I live in Toronto, for those who know, I’m based in Scarborough, which has a reputation  as a kind of ghetto, but I never really saw it that way.

I’m also a big nerd, so video games and movies, comics, oh, you better believe it. I’m  a founding member of a secret society that discusses at length the potential cultural impact of Nicholas Cage as Superman, or just how intrinsically Batman is Batman: Arkham Asylum.

With Action News Go, I pretty much limited its content to art related stuff. It was an artificial restriction, and one that I think was stifling.  I’m hoping that Swatting at Shadows will offer a more holistic view of, well, what makes me, me. Writing plays a big part of that, if you haven’t already noticed. Before, I think I was a little embarrassed to write too much, I don’t know why. Now, I figure people can just skip that talky bits if they want, like mashing the “skip” button in RPGS. Another factor for starting Swatting at Shadows was to sort of draw a line in the sand between my college/post college years and now my…post, post college years.

Basically I feel like I can do more.

This makes more sense in my head, but maybe you get the idea.

So, what of the name, Swatting at Shadows? Couldn’t I just have said, “Rey Ortega Illustration Blog?”.  As mentioned above, SAS won’t be limited to drawings, instead I wanted a title that encompasses everything in my brain and in my heart, in my work and in the works of those that I admire. The title for my new blog comes from one such work, something that helped to shape my development as a creative person, but I’ve gone on enough for now. Let’s save that for another time.

Thank you for checking out the blog, thank you for supporting me, from the fans who write in nice things to the collectors buying art, the curators who have invited me to shows, art directors who have utilized me, family and friends, on and on and on.

Basically thanks a bunch and lets keep going.

the buffer…

…because the bottom of a page is so sad.

this is from the cottage