Kevin Ramirez - Crisostomo Interview

Kevin Ramirez - Crisostomo

Kevin Ramirez - Crisostomo discusses documenting love, compassion, and honor while working on a constantly evolving personal project.

How did you get into making art?

I didn’t feel like I was into art until I started taking art classes in University. Sure I colored when i was kid but I felt I didn’t understand how important art was until as an adult. I got into creating more when I saw a lot of my art history classes didn’t just involve white artists. They involved Black, Latino, LGBTQ+, Asian, and Indigenous folks. So many beautiful stories and cultures. Seeing them express their love for their culture makes me want to create. To document my Latino history is not just suffering, but there is love, compassion, and honor we tend to forget.

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on this project with my dad. I want to document our father son relationship and see how intimate we can get through our life. I don’t think this project is going to end any time soon. When I mentioned that I wanted to create with him he seemed confused and unsure. When I showed him examples of other photographers of documentation he felt a bit more open. I think even the photographs I submitted are my rough drafts. So definitely this project is always going to change.

I am currently working on this project with my dad. I want to document our father son relationship and see how intimate we can get through our life.

Kevin Ramirez - Crisostomo

What inspired you to get started on this body of work?

Understanding that brown latino men are victims of emotional abuse and neglect. Hearing stories of how other men from my community have been ill treated by their fathers, brothers, and colonial society shows we are weak. Physically strong, yes but why do so many of us abuse our loved ones? Our selves? I’ve been reading Bell Hooks’ amazing writings and took a gender studies class and decolonization classes and understood that gender roles, patriarchy, racism and capitalism are our biggest abusers.

The reason why so many men in my community are so angry is because they don’t know where and why these attacks are coming from. I’m one of the lucky few that didn’t face any type of abuse from my father, but at the same time I don’t feel proud of my existence, of being a brown man. The reason why I’m working on this, is because it’s a documentation and reflection of myself and my father. My role as a brown latino man in the United States is to continue the trauma of machismo but realizing that is not my destiny. It is to give love to those close to me and strangers and be vulnerable and to surrender myself. My father is my guidance on what to and not become. To be close with him right now and our ends, as men.

Do you work on distinct projects or do you take a broader approach to your practice?

When it comes to my projects I don’t stick to one. It goes all over the place and a lot of current projects are just branches from old ones. Especially this one of my father’s as it branched from a project about my mother’s spiritual and physical journey and family members belongings. So I guess my consecutive theme for my art is family.

What’s a typical day like in your studio?

I don’t really have a studio. I guess my space where I seek inspiration and work from is my bedroom and the photo lab at San Bernardino. When I do work I usually have music playing in the background or my headphones. When I go to San Bernardino I usually greet my classmates and friends and enjoy a chat with them and always ask for their critique. I wouldn’t be the artist I am today without their guidance and honesty.

Who are your favorite artists?

Most defintely Carrie Mae Weems, Deana Lawson, Laura Aguilar, Ana Mendieta, William Camargo, John Valadez, Steven Contreras, and Lyle Ashton Harris. The way these artists created, documented, interacted with there subjects, history, and culture truly is inspiring.

Where do you go to discover new artists?

Mainly Instagram. I see small local artists near my city and it’s always great to see creatives so close to me and still alive. As well through friends as they tell me an interesting classmate have cool stuff. Additionally the museums, I’m near L.A. so there’s always someone new to be inspired from.

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