Ramiro’s weapons of mass awareness
I recently was invited to the studio and home of Mexican-American artist Ramiro Gomez Jr. My visit to his studio would be for an interview and to collect one of his creations that I acquired for my personal art collection.
First time I encountered Ramiro’s work was on the Melrose & Fairfax blog. For those of you not familiar with M&F, it is an awesome Los Angeles street art website. The first artwork of Ramiro Gomez Jr. I came upon was his “Valet Yourself - I’m On Break"cardboard piece (HERE) on M&F. When I viewed the “Valet Yourself - I’m On Break" artwork the first time on the internet, what came to mind was; Matisse paper cuts, Street, and American Folk art melded all together magnificently. Doing a Google search on Ramiro Gomez Jr. I found his Happy Hills blog, where I came upon the wonderful oeuvre of Mr. Gomez’s, from his street pieces to reappropriations on magazine pages and his works on paper.
I instantly connected with Ramiro’s work and went back to his blog a few more times after the first to absorb his intriging artwork before I decided to contact him. A few weeks later I emailed Ramiro Gomez Jr. inquiring about adding one of his artworks into my collection and possibly an interview for the Chicano Art Movement blog. A few back and fourth email exhanges later, I was offically going to be the future guardian of a Ramiro Gomez Jr. work of art and get a in-person interview. Mr. Gomez also notified me that I was the “very first official Happy Hills Collector.”
Aristeo waits for his check 8 1/2” x 11” acrylic on magazine
Ramiro spoke to me about this piece, and how this scenario in real life would be a rare occurance to see the male who prodominetly works outside of the confines of the residence, to be invited into the living room to lounge or idle.
On a very sunny and hot July day I ventured on a outing to Los Angeles to visit Ramiro Gomez’s studio in West Hollywood, California. This studio visit and interview had been in the making for a few months, so I was very enthused to meet with the artist in person. Arriving at Ramiro’s home I was warmly greeted and welcomed with some refreshing watermelon to cool me down before spending a captivating couple of hours with Mr. Gomez Jr. and chatting about an array of topics, from The Date Farmers to Michel Gondry.
Our first topic was Ramiro’s living room decorated with VERY cool Mid-Century Modern furnishings that Mr. Gomez’s partner has accrued. Along with the MCM decor were a few creations by Ramiro Gomez Jr. The piece that first caught my eye was of a coloful two piece abstract artwork showcased prominetly in the living room that Ramiro painted earlier in his days of creating art. Another early piece that I gravitated to was a blue colored bust with bits and pieces of bling on adhered to its left side, which Ramiro sculpted and which to me had a hint of Neo-classical sculpture but with a contemporary twist. Mr. Gomez also affirmed to me his love for the ceramic arts and how one day he wants to have his own kiln.
(Above) Mr Gomez’s multi cardboard street piece. Ramiro’s progression with the cardboard works will include multi figure installations put up all together.
The mass media has supported and brought fourth the cause for Mr. Gomez’s visual movement. It is a great to see a talented artist such as Ramiro use his work to bring attention to the behind the scenes workforce, the nanny, gardener and the maid. I wanted to take a different approach from the media, and get to know Ramiro Gomez Jr. on a much lighter and personnal level. I wanted to know what Ramiro enjoys and what influences him in his life. For our first hour of my studio visit with Ramiro Gomez Jr. we sat and chatted about the art world and pop culture. In our talikng about the artworld, I also got to learn which artist have shown support to Mr. Gomez Jr. The two names that came up were The Date Farmers and ASCO founding member Gronk Nicandro. Ramiro let me in on how he really connected with the Date Farmers artwork. He attended their exhibition at the infamous Ace Gallery in Los Angeles, California in 2011. Being mezmerized by Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez artworks, Ramiro contacted them to praise them on their work and share some of his work them. Ramiro related to the Date farmers work, because like Mr. Gomez, The Date Farmers also use reclaimed material to create their art. Since then Ramiro and the Date Farmers have become friends and supporters of each others art. Out of Ramiro’s account about reaching out to the Date Farmers story, he gifted me with another great story involving Armando and Carlos. This story was about how Mr. Gomez unkownly attended an exclusive opening of ASCO “The Elite of The Obscure” at Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), with the Date Farmers and Douglas Christmas (Ace Gallery). (by exclusive, I mean Eli Broad and Jeffery Deitch (MOCA L.A.), were in attendance)
Examples of Ramiro’s reappropriations on magazine pages
I also learned Chicano artist Gronk has become an influence and a mentor for the artist, and has given guidence to Ramiro about preserving his work for future generations to view. As time flew by in the second hour Ramiro invited me into his studio and showed me in his workspace where he creates his reappropriations, and the magazines he uses such as “LUXE”. While skimming through the magazine he stops upon an image of a shiny, clean, and contemporary kitchen and quickly tears it out from the magazine. He explains and helps me visualize where he is going to place the figure on the page. Explaining in detail, my imagination starts to envision the figure Ramiro wants to paint on the page. I then catch some vivd colors in my peripheral vision, which my attention then directs to a few of his cardboard pieces leaning against the wall, and our focus and conversation then turns to his street pieces. The first of the pieces that he reveals to me is one of his multi cardboard installations that has been installed in the streets a few times already. Ramiro allowed to me to view a very special cardboard street piece called "El Soldado" that has special meaning to the artist. The Artwork reminds him and pays tribute to his Tio Jesus who is no longer with us, this cardboard artwork will never see the srteets, avenues, or boulevards of Los Angeles, as it will permanently stay in the collection of Mr. Ramiro Gomez Jr.
“El Soldado” homage to Ramio Gomez Jr’s, Tio Jesus
As Ramiro Gomez Jr. is Chicano Art Movement Blog’s first offical interview I wanted to start a series called 5 with ONE. Which will consist of five questions with the artist I am interviewing. I would like to keep this going with every artist I interview in the future.
Hermanos and Hermanas I now present you with my first 5 with ONE. Enjoy!!
1) Matisse or Picasso?
Favorite period of Picasso’s?
2) Favorite Museum?
Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid Spain.
3) Books, Film, Television, Music, or Internet?
Favorite artist or band?
Favorite The Smiths song?
Hand In Glove.
4) Chicano or Mexican-American?
5) Best Carnitas in San Bernardino?
My Tio Luis’ carnitas are the best. (unanimous decision by everybody in the room)
A Shaqtastic size cardboard piece by Ramiro Gomez Jr.
inspired by ICE (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)
Chicano Art Movement blog, would like to thank Ramiro Gomez Jr. for the hospiltality and the opportunity of visiting his studio and for the great conversation.
I see even greater things happening on the horizon for this very talented artist in the not so distant future. Here is one artist our raza should support for and champion his cause.