Chris Ramirez is a graphic designer and fine artist whose magnificent illustrations are often infused with his original poetry. A native Wichitan, Chris attended McPherson College where his “[…] artistic drive evolved into a certain maturity in style and content.” Back in Wichita, he is now ready to share his talent with the world, and I have enjoyed the wonderful opportunity and honor of learning more about him and his work.
KCQ: How did you first become involved in art? And poetry?
CR: That’s a difficult question to answer, kind of like asking a married couple, “so when exactly did you know you were in love?” It’s not something easy to define, you just sort of know. It’s something I don’t remember being without. Since I was a young chap, I was really magnetized toward aesthetics… anything I liked, I would try to re-create or emulate. I would say since I had this wonderment with the morbid beauty in things there was no going back; art was ‘it’ for me. The only feeling I have experienced that I could compare it with is love…that mystical warmth you feel next to a loved one is the same feeling I get when I create. As far as poetry, I’ve always enjoyed reading and learning, but it wasn’t until I discovered the work of Kahlil Gibran that I decided to start writing my own poetry. When I write the poetry it seems like a good balance between the tightly detailed and ordered drawings and the release of JUST WRITING. It wasn’t till later that I decided to take a stab at mixing the two mediums.
KCQ: What is your preferred medium and why?
CR: I’m currently working mostly in graphite. There is an incredible richness in contrast one can get with graphite. I choose this medium because I consider myself still learning and growing, an infant artist…I think it has only been since college I started to use conscious ideas with the drawings, mixing intellectual thought and symbolism in with the aesthetics. Before, I was drawing with just the hand and eye; after college, it turned into something much more. The great Michelangelo said the true artist draws not with the hand, but with the mind.
KCQ: What inspires you the most?
CR: I’m a like a sponge…I take inspiration from everything and soak it all in…from Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel to a unique- looking water spill…but If I had to say one thing that inspires me the most, it is seeing other people who are really, truly passionate about something. Even if it’s something that’s ridiculous or something I might not agree with, I admire people with strong passions and integrity. It gets me fired up, and I feel blessed that I have found mine.
KCQ: Why do you think creativity is important?
CR: Creativity gives me a strong sense of purpose. I can’t really say how important “creativity” is to other people, but I know how important it is for people to have a sense of purpose, whether it is through creating a masterpiece or raising a family. Finding your own personal purpose is something everyone needs, and that’s really hard to do living in an age where society demands you to put on and take off roles.
KCQ: What do you hope to “accomplish”–for lack of a better word!–with your art, if anything?
CR: Short term, I want my pieces to accomplish aesthetic beauty combined with intellectual persuasion. I really hope to expose the potential of the human soul and imagination. I’m not one that can throw my emotions into an abstract piece, (that’s where the poetry comes in,) but basically, my mission is to create beautiful works of art without having to sacrifice a strong concept. The art is a reflection of the soul of the artist…through art one can give something to the world and also learn on a deeper level themselves. Through my artwork, I hope to grow and mature as an individual along with the art. I think it was Dali that said, “A fool copies exactly from a photograph and will create a fool, a Dali will copy from a photograph and create a Dali, a Velasquez will copy from a photograph and create a Velasquez, you can only create what is in your soul.”