Jeff Bortniker

painter born in 1962



Jeff Bortniker is an American artist born in 1962.


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. Noticing this, Bortniker started to wonder if he could use this tactile concept and convert it into an art form for the visually impaired community to appreciate. After extensive research, he found there was no codified method for teaching the blind about color or art. So he made it his goal to give others the opportunity to feel color and art the way he did. Working on this project during 2014 he was able to create a new book that will introduce blind students from the ages of 5-16 to the world of color. When competed, the book will be published by the National Braille Press.




A word from the artist


  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.




Antarctica 1915 - A Tribute to Sir Ernest Shackleton  


This painting is a tribute to Sir Ernest Shackleton's expedition on ship The Endurance.


 In 1915, the ship became beset in the ice and  eventually crushed and sank.

The crew of 28 souls was stranded and managed to reach on lifeboats the inhospitable, uninhabited Elephant Island. Shackleton and five others managed to reach South Georgia  and to mount a rescue operation to salvage all the other members of the crew without loss of life after 22 months spent thousands of miles away of the nearest inhabited land .

Antarctica 1915 | 2015 | acrylic on canvas | 44 x 44 in (112 x 112 cm)


Works Availability:

      Available for sale

      Sold - Private collection