I first met Laura Ramirez in the late 90’s. We were both single moms with young daughters, living a crazy busy life in LA. We immediately hit it off. She was the kind of girlfriend every gal wants, with a wicked sense of humor, outgoing, a great story teller (especially over pitchers of margaritas!) and with the just the right amount of crazy all mixed in.
A whole new sense was born once again, a new fresh look on everything around me. Everything around me became alive and had a purpose. I then made the move to actually buy a paint brush and paint. So one day I’m sitting at my table, the thoughts, the imagination growing overflowing too quickly for me to put down on paper, to draw, to paint. I had to get my thoughts together, I had to focus and have a direction. I began to ask myself, who am I? where do I come from? where will I be? what do I want people to know? what do I want people to see? what moves me? what hurts me? who do I miss? And that’s when I thought of my Dad who had past in 2002. Although it made me sad, he was such a happy man, such a fun life he lived. I imagined him looking down at me and saying, “Gabby (my childhood name) you can do anything you set your mind to”. That’s when I decided I want to pay homage to the dead, and what better way than Dia de Los Muertos which depicts the dead living, loving, happy, dancing as if they never left our side. Not only was this the perfect theme, but it originates from my own Latino Culture. So I was able to combine both my heritage and love.
How would you describe the pieces you make?
They all stand for love, life, happiness, and faith. Dia De Los Muertos is a holiday celebrated in Mexico as a holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. Traditions connected with the holiday include building private altars called honoring the deceased with their favorite food, drinks, and items. Each piece is a celebration of a person or even an animal who has past, who is still living, laughing, and loving in the afterlife. It’s a representation, although they’re gone, they’re not far from us. I try to incorporate nature as well, either trees, or butterflies within my paintings, as I believe we are all connected with nature and life.
What inspires you to start a new piece and what is the process from start to finish?
It’s an interesting process, it’s not visually inspired. Each of my pieces start with a poem, I’m also a creative writer, which I haven’t paid much attention to in a very long time. However, for my pieces each one starts with me thinking of a sentence, then I finish the sentence with a poem, when I finish the poem I see the painting in my mind. I write the poems behind each of my finished pieces. So if anyone buys one, if they turn the painting, they will read what actually inspired the painting.
After I wrote this, I came up with the Fortune Teller painting. It’s a woman skeleton with long black hair who is at a table reading fortune teller cards.