We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Ramirez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, what’s one piece of conventional advice that you disagree with?
We hear all the time that the key to success is hard work and dedication, but a lot of the time this familiar tune is misinterpreted. To work hard and apply yourself is one thing, but to neglect yourself and work beyond physical and mental limits is another. The quality of our work and the clearness of our minds are interdependent, and when we start guilting ourselves for simple things like taking breaks or being tired – we’re not really helping ourselves get to where we want to be. Coming to this realization was a huge lifeline for me. Being in isolation heightened my awareness of what I wasn’t doing and what I couldn’t do, and sometimes it was all I could think about. Perspective however, is a very comforting thing. While I could sit around and worry about everything that might not happen and has not happened, focusing on what’s right in front of me frees me from the uncontrollable woes of life. Of course the idea of ‘presence’ isn’t only exclusive to our positive experiences. On those off days where we have pits in our stomachs and clouds in our eyes, the best way to get back up is to validate those feelings! By trusting ourselves and the natural flow of our emotions we can spend more time focused on what truly matters in our work, our relationships and connections with the world around us. Even though we’re conditioned to believe there’s a “right way” to meet our goals, our clearest ideals of success and happiness come from within – why not start there?
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
When I was younger, my dad used to take me out to LACMA. On the weekends, and we would spend the whole day crisscrossing the museum appreciating all the art we could get our eyes on. Years later, the connection I made with my father and the memories from those warm Sunday afternoons still live with me as some of my fondest experiences. I knew that if someone else’s art could do so much for me, my art could do just as much for others. I’ve spent most of high school working as a manager for Rend, a local band, and two of my friends, singer-songwriter Evelyn Ramirez and producer Carlos Cano (Crumz). We’re all very ambitious minds and from the outset we had big goals. Even though the lack of resources is a challenge for us, it certainly isn’t a problem. By putting our heads together and throwing ourselves into the deep end we’ve managed to produce music videos, release albums and play shows – with the help of desk lamps, closets and backyards of course! Over the summer of 2020 I’ve started working with Amnesty Youth as a multimedia contributor. As a grassroots organization, we work on microbudgets and with very limited resources, but we’re always trying to find a way to exact the vision. Throughout this month, I’ve worked as a graphic designer with my friends Shaheera Abbasi and Janae Burney on Amnesty Youth’s Blacktivism Expo 2021. This month long expo was planned to be a collaborative and educational space for youth across the nation to learn about Black history and the ways it’s still being made. These efforts have brought together hundreds of youth from across the globe and we’ve only spent $6.95 一 proof that nowhere is too small to start. I’m still just getting started with everything I want to do in life but I’m very happy with where I’ve gotten so far. It’s my hope that as I grow older, my art can find its way into as many people’s hearts and minds as possible. I’m so grateful to be surrounded by so many supportive friends and colleagues because the experiences I’ve shared with them have shaped me into the artist I am today, and the one I’ll be tomorrow.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
LA is so rich in culture and personality so it really feels like an adventure every time I step out the door. I was born and raised in East Hollywood so why not start there! Wedged in between a dentistry and Crazy Cuts is Fiesta Mexicana, on the corner of Santa Monica and Western. This place is a great example of the kind of no frills, incredible food you can get around here. I would totally recommend the fried tilapia! You could also walk right out of the strip mall to get tacos at the street joint on the same corner! East Hollywood takes more than one day to enjoy for sure. There’s so much to experience here and you never know what new and awesome places you’ll run into! It can be hard to catch moments of stillness in East Hollywood but Barnsdall Art Park is sure to do it for you. The atmosphere at this park is so beautiful- especially with Frank Lloyd Wright’s architectural masterpiece, the Hollyhock House on full display! Barnsdall’s elevation provides some great views of Hollywood as well. I’ll definitely be coming here more often after quarantine. Another place that I really would like to frequent more often is The Smell in DTLA. This venue, on the corner of Main and 2nd hosted awesome lineups of local bands every weekend and I’m really excited to start coming back for shows, hopefully later this year! There are so many more places I wish I could talk about from all over! These are just a few small pockets of LA but I believe they truly reflect how vibrant this amazing city is. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’m fortunate to be around so many people who care for me so deeply and who I care for as well – I want to give thanks to everyone who’s ever supported me in any way! My day one, literally, is my dad – Cuitlahuac Ramirez. The first person who ever appreciated art with me was my father, and my love for art and creativity grew from the concerts and museum visits we both enjoyed so much. He is the reason I’m here today, all thanks to his guidance. There’s never been a difficult moment in my life where my fathers wisdom hasn’t helped me. He came to this country from Mexico looking for a better life and through all barriers, physical and systemic, he got it. Wherever I go from here, I’ll carry my father’s values of resilience and ambition to the end.