1st Place: Albert
Ramos Cortes, California
What inspired your winning entry? This is the final stage of a trilogy that includes a black-and-white photograph and a charcoal drawing, both using the same image. In the oil rendering, the size of the subject—my grandfather—is larger than life, indicating that he was, and still is, a huge presence in my life. His hands are enlarged to convey that he was a hard worker. He is shown facing forward because he was honest and straightforward. And finally, this painting is in color, unlike previous versions of the image, because, even though he has passed away, his influence is still alive.
Where did you study art? I have a bachelor of fine arts degree in illustration and a master’s degree in drawing and painting from the Academy of Art University in San Francisco.
How would you describe your style? I am constantly finding my own voice in order to be as honest as I can in my artwork, and that means an eternal evolution in style and subject matter. I would describe my art as contemporary realism. Both words, contemporary and realism, can be very subjective and still be true to their meanings.
What is one thing most people don’t know about you? I fast for 24 hours, three to four times a month. It’s a healthy habit that detoxifies the body and the mind.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? The advice I apply most to my work is from Craig Nelson: “If you don’t spend time on a piece, you will never know how good you are.”
What is your pet peeve? I can’t stand it when people play loud music on their phones on public transportation. Sometimes I just want to ask them if they have ever heard of those things called headphones.
If you weren’t an artist, what would you be? I would love to be a gymnast or a martial artist. I really enjoy lifting weights and practicing gymnastic skills. I used to practice traditional Japanese martial arts.
What is one thing you will never paint? A subject that doesn’t resonate with me. I could never say exactly what that means, since I am constantly growing and evolving. If a subject moves me, I will paint it.
What’s the most meaningful recognition you’ve received for your artwork? What really moves me is when the artists I respect and admire tell me they enjoy my work.
Featured in the December 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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