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We Are Young Gods: Getting to Know Artist Ramiro Smith Estrada

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I first met Ramiro at some taco joint here in Buenos Aires. While I can’t remember the exact context of our introduction, I do remember that our polite first-meeting-pleasantries quickly turned into witty sarcastic banter. While this is seemingly unrelated to Rami’s work, it is indicative of his approach to communication and the biting yet playful sarcasm that he also incorporates into the themes and messages found in his imagery. While his newest work, encapsulated in a series titled “Young Gods,” is currently on display in Miami at the Vice gallery, we thought a little sit down with Mr. Estrada was more than appropriate. Read on to find out who these “Young Gods” really are, and how Estrada sees the perception of self within today’s media driven culture.

ramiro smith estrada, the young gods, vice gallery miami, argentina painter, buenos aires artist
Piece from the Young Gods series, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014 

Q: When did you start painting?

A: I first started painting and drawing when I was 9 years old. When I was 18 I started studying with an old master here in Buenos Aires, and then university.

Q: Who are your favorite artists/strongest influences?

A; The artists that have influenced me the most would probably be from the Die Brücke movement in Germany. I’ve always been drawn to their use of color as well as their approach to outline and silhouettes. This is in part do to the fact that they worked a lot with wood cutting which I do as well. Conceptually their messaging also provided a certain level of cynicism towards the cultural and political environment of their time, which I also appreciate and try to include in my own work.

Q: If you could give one piece of advice to someone looking at your paintings that would enhance their understanding of your work what would it be?

A: Look closer.

RamiroSmithEstrada
Piece from the Young Gods series, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014 

Q: What do you wish to express with your work? Is there a message? If yes what is it and how are you telling that story in your paintings?

There’s meaning behind the pop-up colors and the apparent vanity of the scenes that I usually depict in my work. I use the idea of vanity as one of the main channels for constructing my message.

More specifically, it started when I realized that the “selfie” point of view allowed me to make paintings related to laziness, (hence the title of my previous show – LAZY). In those works I wasn’t too concerned with the message, but more focused on the painting process itself. For me the idea of the “self” as the center of the image draws a parallel to the “self” as the center society. As I progressed with this body of work it became more obvious to me that the person being portrayed could be anyone. It was no longer a self-portrait of my regular life, but instead a construction of a person by the elements surrounding him. The “elements,” so to speak then became a big part of the message.

the artist kit, triptych, ramiro smith estrada
The Artist Kit, Acrylic on Canvas, 2013

For example in this series, entitled “The Artist Kit,” I have shown the “cool/cult” objects all “arties” have – Doc Martins, a Lomography camera and a french bulldog. It shows how some define themselves as a part of the artists social circles – who often claim to be free but almost always have their own rules and dress code that identifies them from others (you HAVE to know Kerouac, you have to read a confederacy of dunces….and so on). This work also represents my own sarcasm and self critique.

ramiro smith estrada, the young gods, vice gallery miami, argentina painter, buenos aires artist
Piece from the Young Gods series, Acrylic on Canvas, 2014 

At the same time it is also a product of now, a time where everybody is looking at their own belly. We instagram our food, our clothes, our faces for our followers. We are all, like the title of my new series suggests, “young gods”.

Q: How do you think that living in Buenos Aires (Argentina, South America) has influenced your work?

A: I have lived in three different parts of Argentina – ten years in each one. First I lived at my grandfathers farm in Balcarce, then in Mar del Plata and now in Buenos Aires. As far as Buenos Aires is concerned, the city has exposed me to an art world I never knew. Buenos Aires is the place in Argentina where things happen, and we have a saying here “god is everywhere, but it takes his consults in Buenos Aires”. I took me a while to get to know the people I wanted to surround myself with – the people that shared the same interest that I do for art. But Buenos Aires is filled with people like this, and it’s given me the opportunity to be friends with people from all over the world.

Buenos aires is very a very rich and diverse city and is one of the best places to be if you want to acquire knowledge and become better at what you do.

ramiro smith estrada, the young gods, vice gallery miami, argentina painter, buenos aires artist

Q:What do you love most about being an artist?
A: My friends.

Q: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: Living and working as an artist. I’m in Miami for the first time this week and I think it is just the first of many cities to come.

Ramiro Smith Estrada‘s Young Gods Series is currently on display at the Vice Gallery in Miami.

 

 

 

 

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2 Responses to “We Are Young Gods: Getting to Know Artist Ramiro Smith Estrada”
  1. i’m commin’ soon !! ramimi !!! 🙂

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