Faces and figures
This story was featured in the January 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art January 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story!
Although Christina Ramos paints still lifes on occasion, it is the human face and figure that most often call her to the easel. “There is so much history contained within the eyes of the subject, and the experiences of a lifetime, whether short or long—they are all there,” Ramos says.
The Southern California artist studied architectural drafting and interior design in college, but it was later, when she was at home raising her four children, that she began to paint in earnest, learning mostly by trial and error. Eventually she refined her skills at the Los Angeles Academy of Figurative Art, but she says that her studies with fellow California artist Jeremy Lipking have been the greatest influence on her work.
Today Ramos says she has a serious case of what she calls “artistic ADHD” because she enjoys dividing her time between three distinct figurative categories: romantic, pop culture, and humorous. The latter includes narrative pieces featuring nuns engaged in slightly irreverent behaviors, such as wearing red stiletto heels underneath their habits. Many of Ramos’ edgier subject matter has come, she says, from time spent at places such as Anime Expo, a Los Angeles event she would never have gone to except for her children’s interests.
For Ramos art has the power to make people think, reflect, laugh, feel, and attach their own stories to her paintings. One of the things Ramos relishes is hearing viewers express a meaning or message they see in her work that is totally different from what she had in mind. Art should be subjective, she believes. “When people ask for an artist’s statement, I am always at a loss. I think, ‘Does the composer need to have words to describe his music?’” she says. “If so, then the music hasn’t done its job. I feel the same way about my art. If I have to tell viewers what I’m trying to say, then I am taking away their personal interpretation. The art should speak for itself, and speak differently to everyone who perceives it.” —Bonnie Gangelhoff
Featured in the January 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art January 2015 print issue or digital download Or subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss a story!
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