I rely heavily on emotion and mood when I step up to a canvas. As an artist I attempt to create a work that emotes its own unique vibe. I approach the canvas with a basic idea of how I will start, but as the painting progresses it takes on a life of its own. I work fast, in micro bursts lasting 30 seconds at a time, and then I step back and look; if the painting does not infuse the room with the emotion I wanted it to exude I will keep working on it. I repeat this process hundreds if not thousands of times until the work is where it was always destined to be. I will keep working on the painting if the emotional feeling exuded by the work is not satisfactory to me, if the aura does not reflect what was driving me, I do not stop until I get out of it what I wanted from it in the first place. Over the years I have become highly attuned to the tactile nature of my surroundings. This predilection manifested itself as a byproduct of my extensive martial arts training. The form I have studied, Wing Chun, is based on touch and balance. It is imperative to me that the emotion I feel through a work is reflected through touch and balance. This was amplified while I was living in Japan and traveling throughout Asia. Through the spiritual and physical training involved in Wing Chun and the cultural influences I picked up during my travels, I have learned how to appreciate how subtle changes in movement and balance can have a profound impact on the end result. I always strive for the painting to emote a sense of harmony, one that is created by the sublet changes in the touch and balance of the paint on the canvas.
After reading the book South by Sir Ernest Shackleton, a true adventure of bravery and the ability to survive under the harshest conditions known to man. Sir Ernest Shackleton sets out to become the first to traverse the Antarctic continent. Their the ship Endurance was trapped in ice and firmly in the death-grip crushing their craft, and marooning 28 men on a polar ice floe for over 2 years. All the men survived as Shackelton lead them across Antarctica to safety
I immediately fell in love with the idea of being alone in antarctic .
Inspired by the expedition's photographer, Frank Hurley I embarked on the quest to paint my vision of what Antarctica looks like to me.
This lead me to pursue an ever growing an series based on Antarctica
Jeff Bortniker grew up in Brooklyn during the 60’s and 70’s, where he expressed his artistic drive through music. At the age of 11 he started to study Kung-Fu and spent 16 years learning and teaching the spiritual nature of the art. During high school, he was also the lead trumpet player in his school’s orchestra and jazz band. After graduating from high school, Bortniker received a psychology and marketing degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He worked for 27 years on Wall Street, spending three years in Tokyo. In the last 5 years of his business career, Bortniker was an innovator and advocate in the fight against climate change. He spent a great deal of time in South America, with operations in Africa, Asia and the U.S., working with Presidents and other government officials to change public policies in order to mitigate such destructive activities as mass deforestation. In an attempt to abate the stress of the daily grind of a Wall Street career, Bortniker started painting in 1991. The freedom he felt while engrossed in a canvas was powerful and impossible to reproduce outside of the studio. After leaving the crazy world of finance in 2009, Bortniker was able to pursue his passion for painting with vim and vigor. This paid off and by the end of 2014 Bortniker had sold over 60 paintings. As he grew as an artist, passions lead him to the amazing world of abstract expressionism. Since that time, his work has developed a strong following in in the North East, and is now being acquired by collectors across the country. He has received recognition and his artwork is part of many important collections. One work was acquired by Universal Records, another hangs in the lobby of the Readers Digest building, one in the main reception area for film production company 10th Hole Productions (with movie credits such as “The Kids Are All Right”), and Rock legend Billy Squire owns one of my works. One of my paintings was recently featured in the magazine “The Chronicle of the Horse”. Bortniker’s work is very tactile and viewers often want to run their hands over his paintings to get a different sensation.
My art has been heavily influenced by the spirit of both the Japanese and Chinese cultures. Having spent almost 20 years practising Chinese Kung Fu, I learned to appreciate to subtitles of movement and how one small action can totally change your direction.
While living in Tokyo for 3 years I was exposed to a way of life that is unique to Japan. The care that their artists give to every detail and the insistence on a natural flow has inspired the way in which I put paint on a canvas.