Chill babes, house plants, bongs and palm trees are some of what set the vibe of San Fernando Valley based painter Javier Ramirez‘s work. Ramirez who’s been behind a bunch of commercial stuff in L.A. sat down with me in his Reseda studio to show me what he’s prepping for a slew of things in the Fall. We talked about Mexico, the girls that got crushed on in the 90s, cursed tacos, and general desmadre in Reseda.
What sort of visual things are u tripping out on these days?
JR: I’m always trippin’ on the AB-EX painters and I always keep an eye on what is happening in contemporary art.
You grew up in RESEDA. What was that like? What are some places or experiences from the valley that end up in your paintings?
JR: I grew up in Winnetka left for 5-6 years and just moved back to Reseda. It definitely sneaks into my paintings. Reseda is where my mom and her family immigrated to from mexico so there is a lot of personal history in this area for me. its kinda cool to be able to see the carwash where my grandfather worked at when he first arrived to Los Angeles. I got to experience a lot of shit growing up here, good and bad. I was exposed to a broad range of diversity very early on. “The Valley” is kind of a weird place, it’s ugly and hot but there are lots of hidden micro-cultures spread throughout that can be pretty cool. I think in general all my experiences growing up in southern california play a big part of my work.
I love that portrait of the woman with the teased up chola hair and gold hoops, who is that?
JR: Just some chick i made up. Thats what the girls looked like in Reseda in the 90’s.
Do you have a dream portrait u’d like to paint?
JR: thats a tough one… not sure. I think I want to paint some of the interesting people that walk the streets by my house.
Your paintings make me feel super chill. Which doesn’t happen that much. Do you set out for a vibe like that when painting?
JR: I guess I kinda do. Southern California has a pretty good history of chill vibes and it definitely rubs off. I don’t really have a set out plan in place when i make a painting but i do try to achieve certain aesthetic qualities that just appeal to me in a very primal way. Sometimes they are just driven by my mood, sometimes by music, a color, an experience, a memory. it changes all the time.
What’s next? Any new materials or other things u trying to fuck around with?
JR: I want to explore figurative painting a bit more and now that i have more room and better ventilation, sculpture/dimensional work has been on my mind.
Whats the #1 taco? Is it a valley taco?
JR: I ate a cursed taco in Quiroga, Michoacan that has kept me from enjoying any other tacos for the rest of my life until i return to eat another. But to be honest any taco stand in L.A. that has a little old lady that doesn’t speak english making your taco is probably going to be pretty tasty, as long as the Asada isn’t that crumbly bullshit.