Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Spin it again

My buddy Maynard is interviewed in December's issue of SPIN.
My painting "Caduceus" gets a mention too.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Prints for the Holidays

People have been asking so I thought I would place the info here:

The 3x4" color relief prints that you see in my photos section are available for sale. Just $50 a piece plus $15 s/h while supplies last.

Order as many as you want but remember that these are very small editions of each color (5 or 6 per color) so they may go quickly. Each print is mailed out unframed and in a secure rigid holder. Get your orders in now if you'd like to have one or more before the holidaze.

Here's how:
send me and email address and the title and quantity of the print(s) you want to and I can invoice you through paypal, or if you prefer, I'll email you an order form that you can mail in with your payment. Sorry, I'm not set up for credit cards.

And as always, my other prints are available as well at my website


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Questions and Answers

My "friends" at myspace asked some questions about my work.

Ramiro Rodriguez Question and Answer

Waking up from the American Dream asked:
“Have psychedelic drugs played a major role in inspiring your art? I have found that through the use of such substances I have an increased sense of creativity and visual capacity for artwork that I create.”

While most things in my life play a role in contributing to my art making I wouldn’t say that drugs play a major role in inspiring my art. I just don’t have the stamina (or time) to mix the two. However, I do drink a lot of coffee while working.

Jimmy asked:
“Got any more plans on working with Tool?? On a shirt or maybe designing something for that "live dvd" we are all awaiting..?”

If they ask I will be happy to oblige. I haven’t had any requests lately. Whatever they do, I’m sure will look fantastic.

Th3rd3y3 and EHNB (scott) asked:
“What is your inspiration?”
I try to be open to inspiration from wherever it chooses to come from. I help it along by reading stuff that interests me, listening to all sorts of music, watching interesting films, having discussions with great friends that talk about ideas, my wife usually brings things to my attention that I may have otherwise missed, watching my boys and family, etc.

U4icide asked:
“How do you overcome days/weeks/months where you feel uninspired or unmotivated?”
It’s really difficult but I try not to get too down on myself. Everything works in cycles and there has to be some recoup time before a swing into action. When I can’t think of anything I try not to, that is, I do something else, turn my attention elsewhere and try to ingest things that will feed the creative impulse – watch a show, listen to some music, read, sketch, go talk to people. Sometimes I just try boning up on my skills or just go back to working on something that was left unfinished in order to find a place to re-launch from.

Sonya asked:
“How much importance do you place on the formal training you received in your artistic area? Do you feel that it (college art classes, apprenticeships, etc.) are beneficial? Needed? Required? Or do you feel that it could possibly stifle one's creativity because they are constantly being influenced by outisde points of view? I ask this in reference to style, ideas, etc.”

I place great importance on the training I got. Everyone is different but I don’t think anyone learns much in a vacuum. Being in contact with others who are working toward similar goals helps one realize things faster than if one slugs away at it alone. As far as being stifled, I think imposed parameters can only feed the creative output. Creative people always find a way to work around those restrictions. I think that is when some of the best stuff is created.

Beth asked:
“How old were you when you decided to be an artist? Are you kids as artistic as you?”

I’ve always liked drawing some of my earliest memories are of drawing on the insides of paper flour bags. I’ve been blessed with a very supportive family who always reinforced my strengths. They kept saying I was probably going to be an artist and eventually I believed it too.
My boys have artistic streaks in them. How far they take it is entirely up to them. Having two artistic parents certainly doesn’t hurt.

Somebody, Somewhere (tali) asked:
“if you could live one other person's life, and then go back to yours and live yours again, who would it be and how different do you think yours would have ended up as a result of it?”

I don’t think I could live someone else’s life. I believe I’m here for the one I got and should make the most of it. For the sake of your question I’ll say: One of my great grandparent’s life. I think that it would give great direct insight into what made me what I am.

Lea asked:
“Your work is an obvious expression of your interpretations of: consciousness, spiritual exploration, the human condition, sensory perception etc., so what, if any, "answers" about existence have you learned in your life and/or artistic endeavors?”

I don’t know that I have any definite answers but the posing of questions has been most interesting. My work is more about trying to express some of the questions in various forms in order to get more thought energy involved, both from the viewer and myself. I believe everything is a vibration and we are all more connected than we realize.

Sinji (Christophe) asked:
“I'd like to know more about where you're coming from, your studies and when you discovered how to express your works at best.”

If it’s a resumé you want you can see it at Where I’m coming from: I’m just trying to create images that I want to see out in the world. I happen to come from the “go with what you know” school of thought. Therefore, most of the ideas for my work are drawn from my interests in world myth, the Jungian concept of a collective unconscious, meaning in everyday occurrences, ritual and a search for self.
The process of discovering how to best express my ideas is ongoing. I’m always looking for a better way to show something – that’s half the fun.

Holy Pink Floyd asked:
“How has your work evolved over time & where do you see it going in the future?”

My skills and technique have improved with time and practice, my ideas evolve as my view of the world changes with age and experience. The “grand scheme” ideas have been pulled closer to myself and are much more personal than before. I don’t know where the work is going exactly. There are projects I’d like to accomplish, like more painting, installation and film. I just hope that I continue to have the opportunity to do what I love to do.

Jonna asked:
“do you listen to music while you work? if so, do you let it take you in unexpected directions?--maybe different that your initial inspiration/intention/direction?”

Oh yes! I can’t live without music. There is always music playing when I work. Music is my muse. I try to remain open to wherever a particular piece wants to go. Yes, sometimes music has often times presented a solution or direction for a particular piece.

JasonPaul asked:
“what piece of art that you've done do you think you will be the most remembered for, or perhaps the most 'timeless'?”

I hope I haven’t made it yet but right now it is probably for “Caduceus” which has been used for the Tool poster and inspired the name of Maynard’s wine line.

Tom Burns asked:
“what are your favourite linoleum blocks to cut from? (brand)
how do you register multi colored prints?”

I don’t have any favorite linoleum. I’ve tried regular floor linoleum, shoe rubber and stuff from Daniel Smith. I don’t really use it much. I prefer wood - poplar or birch faced plywood. The poplar has a much nicer grain than the birch but may be harder to find.
Registering blocks: I have only started to do multi colored prints with multiple blocks so I’m still perfecting my method. However, I’ve found that building a jig that will hold the block on two sides as well as account for the overall size of the paper. I work backwards. First I carve the block that has the line work, ink that and transfer to a sheet of waxpaper using the sides of the jig to line up the waxpaper to the block. Next I place a new block on the jig, line up the printed waxpaper and transfer that image onto the new block. This way I know both blocks will match where they need to be. Once the color blocks have been cut using this matching method I use the same jig to help me print the final color runs.

Shaun Buehler asked:
“What, in your opinion is at the root of your fascination with submersion in water? Is there any singular event, maybe traumatic, or subconscious, that you are referencing?”

Probably that I floated in amniotic fluid for 9 months…
It’s an ongoing search for that answer but I have always lived and spent most of my youth playing around water (streams, lakes, ponds). It’s a gentle yet powerful force, we have approximately the same ratio in our bodies as the globe has on its surface, the list goes on. I’ll refer you to my website for some more on that subject.

Nic asked:
“In your early paintings, do you see yourself inside the people, meaning are you conveying your feelings (about your life) to us as the viewer, and what does the water represent to you?”

Yes. Water is life, death, womb, tomb, the feminine, the unconscious, etc. I’ll refer you to my website for more on this @

JW asked:
“What is the most rewarding part of your art for you: the cathardic expression in creating, seeing the finished product after all of the work, or public response to the end product?"

All of the above, however, the process and seeing the finished image can’t be beat.

Marisa Silos asked:
“What were you thinking about when you were working on your newest pieces?”

My “antepasados”, my ancestors and what they went through in their lives that make me what I am. What will my contribution be to this world, what will my son’s contribution be, what will their children’s contribution be?

Junko asked:
"Are the themes for your work defined before or after you finish it? In other words, do make your art based on your stories or do you see the stories after you look at your finished piece(or find new aspect of it)?"

Both, sometimes I know what I want the work to say, other times I have no idea what the image that presented itself means. Through the working process and inner dialogue I usually come up with an answer to what the piece is trying to tell me. There are some images that don’t present an answer…maybe they weren’t for me?

Corn on the Cob asked:
“what possesses you to paint the things you do? where's your head at? how do you bring what's inside outside? because i paint too and i have trouble turning myself inside out because there's so much going on in me that its overwhelming and sometimes i can't bring it out so it stays in and makes shit really hard.”

I may have answered this already. I don’t think I turn myself inside out, I have to keep something for myself. If it’s making it “really hard” then I say, “better out than in.” Bring some light to it.

Nobody asked:
"How do you know when you're done? Do you feel done, or do you feel like you can always make changes?"

To know when you are done it is best to have an idea of what you want to accomplish before you start making marks. Intention is an important part of art making for me. That being said, I always think I can improve on a piece once it is “complete”. Best to just move on to another work.
Also, you’re done when the gallery is waiting to pick up the works for the show… :)

Happy Now asked:
“What about Formalists...the aesthetic approach, the concept of disinterestedness, and the concept of not containing a concept? Should the entire explination be there for the viewer, is it all experience here and now? Should the work reflect life outside of itself? How could an image transend the viewer with aesthetics and emotion alone? Does it take and idea, a preconcieved notion, some "viewer baggage" to understand your work? Should it?”

I don’t know. I like the viewer to do some work too.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


November 6, 2007

It’s hard to believe that a year ago today I was up early and enjoying a cup of coffee while I watched the sun rise over the Dominican Republic. My friend since graduate school, Raul Miyar, had arranged for me to visit Los Altos de Chavon for a week and give a relief printing workshop to the students there. It was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had. The Dominican people are warm and friendly and everyone at the school was generous and gracious. One year later and the D.R. is trying to recover from Noel blowing through last week and wreaking havoc. Today my thoughts are with all my friends who may be suffering in the Dominican Republic.

One of a few revelations I had while in the D.R. occurred on my last day there. My friend David was driving me to catch my shuttle to the airport when a sign I had passed a few times during my stay caught my eye. The sign stated directions to various wealthy subdivisions near the beach including one called “Riomar”. In a flash I read it as an anagram for my name, Ramiro. This was something I had never thought of in all the years of my life and for one that has spent the last 16 years, or so, mining the significance of water in his artwork it was a stunning revelation. Rio (river) Mar (sea)

The whole reason for me being in the D.R. seemed like one big coincidence but everything felt like it was as it should be. Firstly, one of Raul’s students, Tomas, was a big Tool fan and had seen my website because of the band. He asked Raul on one occasion if he had ever heard of this artist, Ramiro Rodriguez. Raul responded that he did know of a R.R. and when he saw my website recognized the work as his grad school friend. The other reason Raul would recognize the work is because he is the model for most of the male figures in the underwater paintings. So, one thing led to another. Raul contacted me, we caught up, he asked if I still printed and would I like to come down to give a workshop. I agreed right away and made my way down.

Raul is a great person to be around. There is an almost zen-like presence to him that seems to radiate calm. One of the first things he said to me when I arrived was “I always knew you would come here.” This surprised me because I had lost track of Raul after grad school and hadn’t seen him in more than 10 years. “I just had a feeling” he said. Well, his feeling was right. I can’t wait to visit again and see what else comes about.

In other news: Pablo Ros of the South Bend Tribune wrote a story on my Dia de los Muertos installation. Read it HERE

Monday, November 5, 2007


November 5, 2007

This weekend was slightly more relaxed than I have experienced for the last couple of months. Saturday the family hit the local farmers market for some fresh eggs and hot pretzels. I did some tree pruning and leaf raking while the boys and pals played in the yard (and busted through my leaf piles). I had to give in to the idea that fall is really here so the window air-conditioner units came down and the storm windows went up.

I love autumn. Maybe it’s the transition aspect that does it for me. Plants are getting ready for sleep, the weather cools off and the sounds of leaves rustling in the wind has a lulling affect. The autumn harvests are colorful and sweet. Some of my favorite memories from childhood involve the fall and trekking through the woods with my cousin, Miguel, and our dogs. We’d get home from school, eat a quick meal and head out until sundown.

In the studio:

I’ve had a few people contact me through the blah-g and Myspace expressing interest in exhibiting my work. This is very good though I feel like I need to create a whole new body of work. I had intended to start in on some new paintings after the Dia de los Muertos ofrenda was up. My painting has taken a back seat to printing recently and it is high time I get back to the brushes, however, an image I created months ago has been selected for an obesity awareness project. This means it is back to screen printing until I can deliver this edition. So the brushes will have to wait a bit longer.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Los Muertos

November 2, 2007 (All Souls Day)

Thanks to all my family that has come before me. I couldn’t have gotten here without you.

Last night was the reception for my ofrenda and a celebration for Dia de los Muertos at the Snite Museum of Art. The talk I gave about my ofrenda was well received though I sometimes felt like I was talking in circles. I’m glad I was able to use some powerpoint slides to emphasize my points.

Many thanks to all the friends that came out to show their support. And once again, many thanks to all that helped me out in constructing this ofrenda to my family.

What follows is the statement written up to explain this year’s ofrenda:



A family’s history suffers when an individual dies and his/her life stories are forgotten. If the deceased’s life is like a collection of stories within a book, then a family’s history is a great library containing these collections. If the family members pass on without conveying their stories to a younger generation, then it is as if a great library has burned to the ground.

Ramiro Rodriguez’s Dia de los Muertos installation, Cuentos y Memoria, honors the lives of family members from the Martinez-Rodriguez family that have passed on. The ofrenda’s (offering/altar) arrangement of traditional elements, such as pictures, flowers, and food is supplemented with contemporary elements in an attempt to document the stories of those relatives.

The title Cuentos y Memoria (Stories and Memory) refers to the stories family members recount about those loved ones. The telling of these stories adds to the collective memory of the family and keeps alive, in minds and hearts, those who are gone. The narrating recalls anecdotes of the departed’s life to family who knew him/her, as well as to younger children who may not have known him/her at all.

A portion of the installation features a loop of video interviews that are part of an on-going family oral history documentation by Rodriguez. Various members of the Martinez-Rodriguez family (parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, nieces…) relay memories about their departed loved ones. In this instance, the video replaces the conversations, remembrances and storytellings, which traditionally occur at a graveside during the Dia de los Muertos celebration.

In the gallery a book-filled coffin represents the lives of ancestors long-since buried and forgotten. When viewed in sections, the sides of the box present a snapshot of various aspects of a life. However, when viewed as a succession of prints pulled from the individual side sections, a life’s journey is exposed as a continuous circular image that repeats infinitely–as the body of an Olmec dragon carved into a stone sarcophagus.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Los Angelitos

November 1, 2007

All Saints Day

On this day it is the Mexican tradition to remember and honor the spirits of family members who died in infancy or childhood.
Here's to the angelitos.

Tonight's my talk and reception at the Snite Museum of Art @ the University of Notre Dame, Indiana. See previous posts for details.

Tonight @ Notre Dame

Day of the Dead Celebration Thursday, November 1, 2007 7:00 p.m. The Annenberg Auditorium and the Great Hall, University of Notre Dame. Free and open to the Public
Sponsored by The Snite Museum of Art and the Institute for Latino Studies.

The Snite Museum of Art at the University of Notre Dame and the Institute for Latino Studies present the sixth annual observance of El Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), a Mexican tradition that honors the dead and celebrates the lives of those gone before us. The event is co-sponsored by Campus Ministry, the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, and Multicultural Student Programs and Services.

It will be held on Thursday, November 1, 2007 with a 7:00 pm lecture and performance in the Annenberg Auditorium followed by traditional Mexican refreshments in the Great Hall of the Snite Museum of Art on the University of Notre Dame's campus.

South Bend painter, printmaker, and Snite exhibition coordinator Ramiro Rodriguez will create this year's ofrenda (Day of the Dead altar) and will discuss his Día de los Muertos installation, "Cuentos y Memoria" and the tradition of Día de los Muertos at 7:00 pm in the Annenberg Auditorium, followed by a performance by Notre Dame's Ballet Folklorico Azul y Oro and Mariachi ND.

Everyone is invited to honor the 100th anniversary of the birth of iconic Mexican artist Frida Kahlo by participating in a Frida look-alike contest. Prizes will be awarded for the "Best Look Alike" Frida and the "Spirit of Frida."

Dia de los Muertos T-shirts will go free to the first 50 people.

This event is free and open to the public.
For further information please contact Jackie Welsh, curator of education at the Snite Museum of Art at 574.631.4435.