Cool People: Ramiro Gomez, artist

I’ve been meaning to start a profile-type series for a while and I figure I might as well dive right into it. It’s interesting and inspiring to hear what other people are up to. Instead of waiting until all my ducks are in a row and the timing is perfect, I’m starting now with this first installment of a new series of profiles. Find out more about the Cool People series.

ramiro1
Ramiro Gomez Jr. standing next to one of his cardboard cutouts

Although I didn’t get a chance to do a question and answer session (recently) with cool person Ramiro Gomez Jr., I decided to write about him first any way. Here’s why: He has an art gallery in LA right now that you should totally check out before you miss your chance. Also, he’s way more popular than when I first met him and I wouldn’t be surprised if he becomes a household name.

Almost two years ago, I met Ramiro in a small music venue in LA called Perhspace where he was having his art exhibited. I loved his work right away and took little shitty pictures of his drawings with my iPhone as I walked around. I wish I still had those pictures to show you, but they’re probably saved on my old laptop that won’t turn on. I was there on a first date and about to see my now boyfriend and his band Wonder Wheel play. But that’s another story for another time.

When I needed an article idea for a magazine class a few months later, I decided a profile on Ramiro would be perfect. Unfortunately, I chose not to interview him in person because I had little time and no car. So we talked on the phone about his education, family, inspiration, work and how it all influences his art.

Maria's paycheck
“Maria’s paycheck,” by Ramiro Gomez

I went to what I think was my fourth Ramiro Gomez exhibit yesterday at the Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown.  At that show at Perhspace, he was exhibiting Rose Gardens, which was more focused on pop culture than his Happy Hills series. Since 2011, the majority of his work has been focused on the predominantly Hispanic workforce who work hard behind the scenes to maintain the look and life of luxury in Los Angles. His work includes cardboard cutouts, magazine paintings and other paintings. No matter the subject or the medium, his work is the kind that makes people stop, stare and reevaluate the space around them.

His work and the inspiration behind it is inspired by personal experience. After leaving the California Institute of Art and Design, Ramiro worked as a nanny in Beverly Hills where he keenly observed the relationships around him. The 20-something Mexican-American artist began to document what he sees and make the invisible stand out.

Los Olvidados
“Los Olvidados,” by Ramiro Gomez Jr.

In July 2012, he traveled to the Arizona desert to install a special series of cardboard cutouts. As Ramiro states on his Desert Project website, “The Desert Project is my way of honoring those who have made, as well as those who never completed, the treacherous trip through the unforgiving desert.”

Portrait of an affluent family
“Portrait of an affluent family,” by Ramiro Gomez

Ramiro has been featured in multiple publications, including the Los Angles Times, NPR, Policy Mic and The Huffington Post. Recently, he was chosen as one of 25 Artists to watch by Artvoices Magazine. In fact, Ramiro last week Ramiro stated on Facebook that with all the attention “Portrait of an affluent magazine” has received lately, it reached the man who is pictured with his family. The man is a designer and said he loves Ramiro’s work.

Domestic Scenes, his first solo art exhibit, opened last night at The Charlie James Gallery in Chinatown and will be on display until February 15.

You can see Ramiro Gomez Jr.’s work on his website. You can also find him on his Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram.

What I learned from a Girls in Tech event

Last Tuesday I spent a total of three hours on buses from Pomona to Santa Monica to hear women speak on social media. Yes, I was that excited about the event. It was Social Media Week in 14 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles. To me, it would be crazy to not go to at least one of the many classes, seminars and panels. The event I went to, titled “Females Forging LA:  A Social Media Showcase,” was organized by Girls In Tech Los Angeles. Five experts shared how they use social media both in their companies, as well as the ups and downs of their careers.

The panelists were:

  • Tatiana Simonian , Vice President, Nielsen Entertainment – @tatiana
  • Lee Ann Daly, Media Executive | Connector-Investor-Advisor, Partners + LAD, Garden Organics, Inc., POPTIP – @leeanndaly
  • Katie Ann Rosen Kitchens, Editor in Chief and Co-founder of FabFitFun – @katieannro
  • Tara Tiger Brown, Tech. Director, DML Research Hub & Connected Learning Alliance Founder LA Makerspace – @tara
  • Karina Kogan, SVP Digital, Participant Media, TakePart.com at Participant Media – Participant Media @_Participant

And the event was moderated by:

  • Karli Henriquez, KIIS FM On-Air Personality / MTV Host – Karli Henriquez

I learned a lot from what everyone had to say, including audience members asking questions. A lot of things being said were pieces of advice I had heard before, but it was still good to hear again whether it be about company strategy or professional growth. All of the women had great things to say.Their jobs were fairly different, so it felt like their answers about social media management for companies varied more than that of their careers. Each company is different, but there are common threads in our lives. In my notes I didn’t write down each person’s name next to what she said, so what I learned will have to be lumped together.

Here are my favorites:

1. Focus on the people who get you and laugh at the people who don’t care.

2. Don’t make excuses for yourself.

3. The less self interested you are on social media, the better you do. On a related note, be authentic to the audience you’re serving.

4. Recognize that you are a brand. If you work in anything entertainment related, be careful of what you say. It could come back to hurt you.

5. Help others and let others help you in life. Ask for what you need.

To be honest, I knew a lot of what they said about social media already, but of course it was still good to hear everyone’s perspective. I did hear of two new to me websites, Topsy and Awe.sm, which I will be trying out and I encourage you to try too.

Overall, it was a pretty awesome event. Unfortunately, I did get nervous and only ended up talking to two people (none of the panelists) during the networking portion. I’m working on being less shy. Sometimes it’s still hard though. Also, sorry no picture. Although I had my DSLR I was so into taking notes that I didn’t even try snapping a photo.

This post is kind of a week late because I’ve been busy with other things like starting school and … okay, excuses are lame. Whatever, I just haven’t written it until now.