Jeff Ramirez is a painter working out of Los Angeles, CA. He originally studied computer programming in college, but luckily for us he opted for something more creative and hands-on. We were able to send a few questions to Jeff, as well as show 24 of his photo-realistic paintings.
Creep Machine: you went to the University of California in Santa Cruz, and before studying art you studied computer programming. Is there anything you learned, habits, or likewise from those studies that has influenced your fine art?
Jeff Ramirez: Programming and painting for me are pretty similar — sitting down for long periods of time, often late at night, listening to music, trying to stay awake and repeating tasks over and over again. Programming was just too boring for me and I knew that I needed something else. I found myself rushing through the programming portion of each assignment so that I could spend more time tweaking the appearance and design. At that point I knew that I had to do something more creative where I could work around others in a more social atmosphere and actually produce something that had a life of its own once I was done. Learning programming was important though; it showed me how to focus and get work done. Up to that point, I don’t think I had been challenged much.
Creep: Aside from looking as close to real life as possible, photo-realistic painting seems to have a power with emotion. What was it that attracted you to painting in this manner, as opposed to the looser style that seems to be more prevalent?
Jeff: A lot of photo-realists deal in nostalgia and while that’s present in my work, the sense of nostalgia has been twisted and mutated. My paintings are very personal and I think that comes across but as with my choice of technique, I’m not trying to communicate or show you a real thing. The physical thing is just there to remind you about the power of your own perception and understanding. Your own story is the only truth you will ever have.
Creep: Who are some artists that have influenced your work?
Jeff: Robert Bechtle, Connie Jenkins, Andy Denzler, Charlie White, Charlotte Beaudry, Justin Mortimer, Kaye Donachie, Marilyn Minter, Rebecca Campbell, Song Kun, Delphine Courtillot, Franz Gertsch, Judith Eisler, Luc Tuymansâ€¦ I could go on forever.
Creep: What are some of the main hurdles you had to overcome while learning how to paint?
Jeff: Well, I guess there is some sort of resurgence of photo-realism and that is nice and all, but it still isn’t a popular style. I have been working on my technique for many years and I didn’t get into it because I thought it was cool. I just wanted to get really good at a painting style. I still have a lot of room to grow but I feel comfortable with the physical product that I am putting out there. If I manage to confuse someone about what is right in front of their eyes, then I have done my job. That is the goal for me. I embrace the internet and all but I try really hard to accept that most people will only ever see photo-realist works as compressed JPEGs. That’s rough.
Creep: Finally, you have stated you are a huge fan of mixed martial arts. Would fans ever see any fight related paintings from you in the future?
Jeff: I should definitely make some paintings that feature models fighting but I don’t think that the MMA aesthetic really fits in with my work. I like MMA as a sport but the culture around it is not my style. However, I will say that it would be really fun to paint one of those gaudy t-shirts with the shiny silver decals and patterns. I have painted plaid before. Why not keep making things hard for myself? I guess I will say that I am open to commissions featuring gaudy t-shirts and/or difficult patterns of all kinds. I swear that someone once told me that (comedian and UFC commentator) Joe Rogan was an art collector. I would do a painting for Joe in a second.
Thanks Jeff for taking the time to answer these questions. For more work make sure to check out his homepage here: Jefframirez.com