We had the good fortune of connecting with Ramon RAMIREZ and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ramon, why did you pursue a creative career?
The goal, since I was five years old, has always been to be an artist. I didn’t know what it was to be an artist back then but I knew that I wanted to draw. I didn’t know any artist or had family mentors that I can ask, but I knew that drawing was magical. I studied architecture and art in college. I did a ten year stint as an architect and another 10 year stint teaching at the college level but now, after a long and winding road, I can finally call myself an artist. It’s actually my day job…which has always been the goal. So in a way, I never really had a choice.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am most proud to say that I am a painter. I often get asked if I have a day job…and I don’t. Sometimes people even ask me if I paint ‘interiors’ or ‘exteriors’. Which is still funny to me. But I do get excited that every Monday morning I get to paint. And that has always been the goal. The exciting part is that I know what my life’s purpose is and that I am actually doing it. To be able to paint is a golden gift that is rare…and I will not waste that gift. The most difficult part about my journey is convincing other people in my life that painting is what I need to do. I reached the rank of assistant professor and when I quit, there are a few people that were close to me that just couldn’t believe I did that. I mean, who quits a tenure track position? But now, I’m about to turn 50 this year and I get to use a 30,000 year old technology to communicate…in other words, I push paint around. It’s quite unbelievable that that is my job. I feel that my 50s are going to be the most productive period of my life and I also know that I will never retire. I’m just going to paint until I die.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is a difficult question. I love LA. I was born in LA, I was raised in LA. And after college I moved right back to LA. LA is the best city in the world. I have had the fortune to travel all over the world but the best part about traveling is the plane ride home…home to the best city in the world. The reason why this question is difficult is because of the current pandemic. So much is off limits. The silver lining is that now I get to explore more areas of LA that I have never visited before. More pandemic friendly places. I started hiking more. I visit the beach at night. I want to hit the Huntington, I’ve never been to the Arboretum, the Newport Conservancy….so I want to take my best friend to parts of LA that we can explore together. And that’s the coolest part about LA, I’ve been living here for 40 years and there’s still parts of LA that I’ve yet to explore. The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The list of people that have helped me on my journey to becoming an artist is LARGE. There’s the usual suspects: friends, family, teachers, professors, clients…but the atypical catalyst that made it all come together for me is that in college I saw an exhibition called CARA: CHICANO ART RESISTANCE AND AFFIRMATION at SF MoMA. At the same time I read a poetry book called EMPLUMADA by Lorna Dee Cervantes. Those two events really shaped my resolve to be an artist. I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned that to anyone. Thank you CARA and Lorna.
Facebook: Ramon Ramirez
Photograph by Emilio Pulido