Born 1977 in San Juan, PR
Lives and works in San Juan, PR
Charlie Ramirez (CR) is a self-taught international artist. He works with a variety of media such as painting, sculpture and video. Born and raised on the Island of Puerto Rico, his love and knowledge of art developed through his upbringing. Growing up amongst his father’s private collection of Latin American Art, his parents taught him the importance of art as means of expression and its cultural significance. CR’s earliest tendencies of expression though, were not through fine art, he found his niche in the sport of surfing. From the age of 24, the artist traveled the world while competing professionally as a surfer. His surfing career greatly influenced what would eventually lead to his artistic style, he was exposed to many cultures and cultivated an appreciation for the power of nature. While making his way back home after a professional surfing trip to South East Asia, Ramirez experienced a revelation; for an unknown reason he felt a compulsion to start painting. Once he arrived home he embarked on what would later evolve into an artistic career. For Ramirez, painting is a vocation. As a professional surfer, the artist is fortunate enough to be able to express himself through pure physical activity, but he reasons that his artistic calling originated from an intrinsic urge to express his intellect and his subconscious.
Strongly influenced by the greats of modern and contemporary art, his semi-abstract paintings convey familiarity through originality. The fact that he dares to experiment with unorthodox materials and methods is a possible reason for why Ramirez continues to gain momentum within the art world. He manages to capture the observer with refreshing creations but acknowledges his artistic predecessors while doing so. The artist’s various series and subject matter demonstrate both his versatility and his consistency with his signature painting technique. CR’s painting is discernible due to his caking of layer upon layer of paint along with incorporating tissue paper and ink on his canvases. He also experiments with impulsively scraping said layers to reveal the colors underneath in pursuit of texture and form for his figures, reminiscent of Ernst's bold methods of frottage and grattage. He draws from automatism and constructs his artwork through an absence of conscious thought while creating chance textures.
ABOUT THE ART
The artist openly identifies his influences from artists such as Monet, Basquiat, Meese, Dubufett, Twombly, Bacon, Matisse, de Kooning, and others. Through embracing his inspirations and not fixating on innovation or shock value, Ramirez is able to unleash his creativity, flow organically, experiment and produce distinctive artworks. What makes his work extraordinary is that although he incorporates elements from past artistic movements, his art feels fresh and radiates a presence when experienced in person. His artwork is honest and true because he incorporates fragments of himself within each piece. The traces of himself left on the canvases are not limited to the icons and figures he paints but in the materials and colors he uses in his compositions as well. His cultural identity is present in his use of bright colors and peculiar combinations of pigments. Often painting flower landscapes, his somewhat aggressive and loose brushstrokes simultaneously communicate a sense of chaos and harmony. This is because once finished, his compositions fuse together hints of Impressionism, Fauvism, Art Brut and Abstract Expressionism. These artistic inspirations are imbedded in his memory, a result of his upbringing, and spill out on to the canvas involuntarily in his signature style. Ramirez is also known for painting characters, which exemplify said techniques but are purposefully created to transmit messages of positivity to the viewer. Other traits of his art include the use of automatic writing, patterns such as checkers and animal prints, and icons such as waves.