November 17, 2009
By Kate Richardson
On the corner of Kedzie and Archer in Chicago, Ramirez adds detail to one of his letters. Ramirez worked on this large wall in 2007 with a few other artists that synchronized with what he was painting to create a cohesive mural.
When you see a fellow student in class doodling on notebook paper or a worksheet, it generally means they are just bored and passing the time. However, for UIS junior Mauricio Ramirez, that doodling could be the beginning to his next big piece of artwork.
Ramirez has been creating graffiti art since he was 13 years old and has been sketching out his ideas even longer than that. He has had two art shows and currently has four walls he is working on in his hometown of Chicago. He is also planning to make his mark here in Springfield.
“I want to do a live art show either on campus or downtown. For downtown, I’m going to designate a day where I can walk around
downtown, find places that I like and just ask the owner of the building if they would be part of my artwork,” Ramirez said.
Ramirez says he is often commissioned to do artwork by business owners who walk by as he is
To “keep pushing the style,”
Ramirez creates a
working on one of his walls. Recently a barber shop owner hired Ramirez to paint the inside of his shop.
“He came up to me and was a big fan of my artwork and was wondering if I would be willing to do some work in the barber shop. He paid for all the paint and my service. It took me about 11 hours,” Ramirez recalled.What motivates Ramirez most is getting his artwork and his name out there. This is what got him from the sketching phase to actually painting murals.
“I started taking my art on a bigger scale,” he said. “I thought the bigger it was, the more of an impact it would have on my audience. I got tired of showing people my notebook and I wanted them to be exposed to something bigger.”
When Ramirez was 16, he painted his first large-scale mural on a wall offered to him by his uncle. His uncle owns a business right next to the expressway in downtown Milwaukee.
“He gave me the opportunity to display my artwork right there so thousands of people would see it there every day. At the time I was working as stock grocer and I remember all that month I saved up money to buy paint for that mural,” Ramirez said.
Pictured above is a ilwaukee Brewer’s themed-mural Ramirez painted in the summer of 2008.
The paint Ramirez uses, Montana spray paint, must be special-ordered from Spain. This synthetic-based spray paint comes in over 150 colors, whereas regular spray paint only comes in about 50 colors. Montana spray paint runs about $10 per can, whereas regular spray paint is approximately $3 per can.
“It is the only graffiti specific paint. The paint doesn’t drip and it dries really fast so you can layer colors over colors in a short period of time. And the cans are low pressure which makes it easier to maneuver the can,” Ramirez said.
Tagging his name, Ramirez finishes his piece inside a Milwaukee art studio. Ramirez was invited to paint there as a guest artist in 2007. He chose yellow and green for the piece to create a contrast and focus on a linear style.
His art, much like his paint, must have a very specific style. Ramirez explains that if his art looks like the work of another person, then he is replaceable.
“Style is the number one thing. You don’t have style, you don’t have anything. Stay true to yourself and stay true to your art,” Ramirez said.
When Ramirez is finished with school, he plans to travel and paint murals in cities across the world. Rio De Janeiro, Madrid, Barcelona, Vienna, Tokyo, Mexico City, Sicily, and Paris are just a few cities on his long list.
“In terms of art, I know what I want to do with it,” he explained. “I know where it’s going to take me. Everything in my life is goal-oriented. With art, my goal is to get my name as famous as possible.
“I know exactly how to execute that plan and the techniques to keep my skill level evolving.”