Painting on the radio is like fish on bicycles, except if you are POCHO amigo Ramiro Gomez, Jr., whose artistic mission is to represent the usually invisible immigrant laborers who keep America running.
We’ve been celebrating the artwork of SoCal’s Ramiro Gomez, Jr. since 2012 and we’re thrilled he’s finally getting the recognition he deserves. Just this week he was named one of OUT magazine’s OUT100 (photo), and The Atlantic featured him in a video:
We first met West Hollywood artist Ramiro Gomez when he began placing his hand-painted cardboard figures of immigrant laborers in prominent public spaces in Bel Air, Beverly Hills and Hollywood.
Even as his audience has expanded via out-of-town art exhibits and a documentary film, he still plants cutout cardboard workers in places where their real-life counterparts have been before. Gomez’ aim? To make workers who are normally INVISIBLE become visible to passersby who look away or look but never see.
This gardener with a hose popped up Wednesday just before sunset in Beverly Hills near that famous hotel. Like all Gomez’ creations, he has a name. Meet Sergio.
Sure, being Invisible is chingon and all, but what if you meet that special woman you’d like to get to know a little bit better … but she can’t see you?
(PNS reporting from HOUSTON) María Solis is tired. Specifically, she’s tired of everybody suddenly caring about what she thinks — about anything at all.
Ever since the election and subsequent media obsession with the “Latino voter,” her life has changed dramatically.
“It’s getting to be a bit much,” she told PNS in a Skype interview Thursday night. “I mean, now everyone is all considerate of my feelings about things. I keep getting asked what my thoughts on immigration reform or gun control are — I’ve had enough!”
Solis, mother of four-year-old fraternal twins Santino and Elise, misses the days when people would crack racist jokes in front of her and her Mexican-born mother as though they didn’t exist.
Ramiro J. Gomez is a West Hollywood installation artist who makes and places cardboard avatars of immigrant laborers around Southern California’s richer neighborhoods; his mission is to make normally invisible people visible, if just for a short time.
Monday around 4:30 Gomez was busy populating the cardboard labor force on Beverly Hills‘ famed shopping street, Rodeo Drive, where it’s beginning to look a bit like Christmas — Beverly Hills style, that is. Weather? Sunny, with temperatures in the low to mid 60s ℉.
Here’s what he posted on Facebook:
Finished with the cardboard installation spree today. My heart inevitably was racing, especially when I placed the cutouts on busy Rodeo Dr. but that is the most liberating and rewarding aspect of my project, the ability to go in plain sight and creatively make a statement.
Eloisa is the elote seller, Rodrigo is the paletero, and Mayra is the woman with the balloons. Here’s the view from Gomez’ camera:
“Latinos can go “blank” themselves!”
This is what Kennedy Center director Michael Kaiser must have been thinking when he screamed, “Go F___ yourself!” into the telephone when confronted by Felix Sanchez, director of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts (NHFA) on the continuing Latino Lockout at the Kennedy Center honors.
Since its 1978 founding, the Kennedy Center has only honored Latin@s Chita Rivera and Placido Domingo. I spoke to Sanchez about this disturbing incident, and the even more disturbing third-of-a-century-long diss against Latino artists in the United States.
LA: Felix, first of all I want to applaud you for revealing the media what Kaiser said to you on the telephone. Most people would defer and not speak up about a private and embarrassing (to Kaiser) conversation. Can you briefly re-tell what happened?
For two years we’ve been trying to reach the Kennedy Center chair, president, producer, and even Caroline Kennedy. We’ve sent letters, emails, phone calls and we’ve gotten ZERO response. We were able to talk to the assistant to Kaiser. This is the buffer they set up between us and the administration of the Kennedy Center. They refused to meet with us, saying they cannot meet with anyone lobbying for individuals to receive the honor. They have been fighting anyone who wants to get to the truth of the matter. They have no interest in resolving or cooperating this issue. So on September 12th they announced the 2012 honorees.
Installation artist and painter Ramiro “Jay” Gomez continues to populate the streets of Southern California with immigrant laborers painted on cardboard. His quest? To make visible the invisible people who keep L.A. — and Beverly Hills — running.
Here, in the artist’s photographs, is the life story of Ramiro’s newest creation, the guy who sells tourists Maps to the Stars Homes. Ramiro says his name is Antonio. He works his trade at the eastern edge of Beverly Hills, at Santa Monica Boulevard and Doheny, on the border with West Hollywood. Will he be there Thursday morning?
Does the woman with the stroller and the smartphone even know he’s there?
UPDATE: Ramiro Gomez on NPR: 6/29/2012: Click here.
West Hollywood artist Ramiro “Jay” Gomez Jr. – the guy who inserts cardboard paintings of immigrant laborers into the real landscape of Los Angeles – also paints them onto glossy magazine photos. Meet fresh uploads Nemesio at the end of his workday and Ofelia taking a break. Gomez’s Happy Hills blog is here.
Ramiro Gomez is an installation artist who makes the invisible visible by inserting cardboard versions of usually-overlooked Mexican laborers into actual settings. Last night he emailed:
Fresh piece I just installed this afternoon on the westbound corner of Mountain Drive and Sunset Boulevard in Beverly Hills. If you’re driving around that part of town, stop by and check it out before it’s inevitably taken down.
Like Gomez wanted, POCHO stopped by the intersection the morning of Cinco de Mayo and shot this video. It reminded us of a Folgers Crystals instant coffee commercial: “We’ve secretly replaced your ordinarily-invisible immigrant gardener with a cardboard replica. Let’s see if anyone notices!” And we have photos from Gomez, below.
Artist Ramiro Gomez, Jr. makes the invisible visible as he inserts cardboard images of hardworking Latinos into the landscape of Los Angeles and documents his installation art with photos. At half-past midnight he emailed POCHO:
I went up to Hollywood Blvd. this afternoon and put up my newest cardboard installation. It is on the corner of Hollywood Blvd. and Curson Ave. I went back tonight and it has not been taken down yet, hopefully, the location I chose allows it to ride for a while.
The big versions of Gomez’ photos are below.
Shoutout to Hollywood peeps: Is the paletero still there? Please share your updates in the Comments section below. Gracias!
“You can see all the stars as you walk down Hollywood Boulevard, some that you recognise, some that you’ve hardly even heard of. People who worked and suffered and struggled for fame, some who succeeded and some who suffered in vain,” according to the Kinks.
But artist Ramiro Gomez Jr. — whose art installations make the invisible visible — will have none of that. That’s why, on Sunday, Oscar Day, on Hollywood Boulevard, he positioned an image of one of the ubiquitous but unacknowledged Latinos who survive on the fringes of “The Industry.” One of those dudes you see hanging out on corners selling tourists “Maps to the Stars’ Homes.”