Las Vegas’ Latinos Who Lunch interviewed LA-based artist Ramiro Gomez at the Denver Art Museum earlier this year prior to the opening of Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place. The exhibition features site-specific installations by 13 Latino artists that express experiences of contemporary life in the American West. Thanks to Favy Fav (Justin Favela, also also in Mi Tierra) and Babelito for sharing the interview with S + N.
From the Denver Art Museum website: Gomez on his work, “Right now, my intuition is saying, ‘Paint yourself, paint your stories.’ I came to Denver intending to connect my personal history to this new environment. The fortuitous meeting of a janitorial employee named Lupita Velazquez cemented my idea to focus on a custodial worker at the museum. As I shaped the narrative for the project, I was very aware that I was tapping into both family histories—Lupita’s and mine—and making our very private stories public. My mother works as a custodian at a public school, a job vital to the school’s maintenance. So as I observed Lupita in her daily work around the Denver Art Museum, I was reminded of my mother and connected their labor. For this reason, my installation is indirectly about my mother, through the focus on Lupita. It’s about their shared experiences as mothers working as janitors to support their families.
My goal is to make these ‘invisible’ people visible in order to remind everyone of their contributions to the community. Through huge cardboard paintings, I seek to address Lupita’s experience and engage the viewers in her story.”
Ramiro Gomez was born in 1986 in San Bernardino, California to undocumented Mexican immigrant parents who have since become US citizens. He briefly attended the California Institute for the Arts before leaving to take work as a live-in nanny with a West Hollywood family, an experience that did much to inform his subsequent artistic practice. He is represented by Charlie James Gallery in Los Angeles where he had his third solo exhibition in 2016 in conjunction with the publication of a monograph on his work by Lawrence Weschler (Abrams). Gomez lives and works in West Hollywood, California.
Latinos Who Lunch is a Podcast which engages in conversations about everything from pop culture to art to identity politics.
Mi Tierra: Contemporary Artists Explore Place is on view at the Denver Art Museum through October 22.
Title image: Ramiro Gomez, Lupita, 2017. Acrylic paint and plastic spray bottle on cardboard, 49 x 83 in. © Ramiro Gomez