Soups up! Introducing: Jeanette Ramirez!
The Caldo Collective is proud to bring you the first of four interviews with our most recently selected local artists! Each of these artists will be presenting their ideas at Frijol Feasts Vol. V! Jeanette comes to the table from a life time of "breaking stuff" to make art with whatever she could find. With a focus on the female experience in the 21st century, Jeanette's work explores issues of objectification of the female body, depictions and stereotypes of women in media and the power and place of the human body in her work. Enjoy this q&a and get ready... Jeanette presents "Mujeres de la Frontera" THIS SUNDAY at Frijol Feasts. Caldo Collective: What is your background as an artist? What drives you?
Jeanette Ramirez: Since a very young age, I’ve managed to create things with whatever material I was able to find. My Mom has some pretty embarrassing (yet awesome) stories of how I would destroy items in the house for my art projects.
I’ve been lucky enough to explore and research a variety of materials for the work that I do. Currently I am pursuing a BFA in sculpture and ceramics at UTEP. These discplines have become open doors for experimentation, making the work I create a combination of two and three dimensions. Typically, I focus on sculpture and interactive performances.
Conceptually, I’m drawn to issues that have to do with the objectification of the female body, how women are viewed through the lens of the media and the pressure women feel.
What drives me the most is being surrounded by people who share a passion for what they do, no matter the subject and no matter the field. I am filled with energy and creativity when I am with these humans. Aesthetic inspiration come from my surroundings, both natural and rural, as well as from the human body.
CC: Each artist who is presenting their ideas at this feast comes to the table with ideas that have very measurable impact on the community at ground level. What do you find most inspiring about this city/this community?
JR: It’s so inspiring- the variety of cultures that merge in the city. Yet, one can still find a community that holds similarities and makes one feel at home when home is far away.
The warmth and welcoming behavior that our people have, even if you are new in town, is something that becomes easy to accept and join in.
El Paso's natural surroundings- our sunsets, our mountains, our rocks- all inspire me. Hueco tanks inspires me every time I go. The contours the mountains have when looking into the horizon are incredible. And don’t get me started on when the clouds come down low enough to create a majestic coat.
The colors in our sunsets are an undeniable painting of nature. (Sorry for the cheesiness but is true!)
CC: Is there potential for artists to grow and be challenged here? How and in what way?
JR: I believe there is potential to grow and be challenged, though there is still much to be done as a city and community to create higher levels of opportunities that wil allow artists to grow to their fullest potential.
Getting involved in the arts as a member in the community of El Paso is the first and major step for this to exist. Knowing the importance that art holds in our community and culture is a way of helping local artists grow even more. CC: What support have you received for your work in El Paso? What support would you like to have access to as an artist? JR: Most of the support I've received has come from the art department at UTEP, my professors & classmates, the community of local artists of El Paso and the Caldo Collective (of course).
I would like to have support from the city. I would like to see the art funding programs bringing contemporary art to the city. I would like to see funding for organizations that want to help local artists grow. The accessibility of spaces to show work is crucial. Most importantly, I would like the support from the city and community to view and hold art as a necessity not a luxury.
CC: How would you compare the climate for artists in El Paso with that of other cities? What makes El Paso's art community unique? How can it be strengthened? JR: Personally, there is no huge comparison aside from the passion that we all hold for art. El Paso artists are extremely unique and lucky to experience life in the border where we see people coming and going every day. We have a unique mix of culture in our roots that nobody else in the US or Mexico or world could even imagine (that includes food, language, history, work and of course art).
Like everything else this all can be strengthened by support from our family, our community and our representatives in the state.
CC: What is the role of art in a community? In society? JR: The role of art in a community is to teach values and lessons that sometimes the community lacks and to speak up when words aren’t enough. The same goes for society. As artists we are responsible for what we choose to speak of, we have a platform where anyone can hear us, can see us, can feel us.
CC: How could artistic practices address the cultural identity and needs of this community? JR: For needs, by attacking the issues as they present, like I said before, we have a platform where we can choose what to say and what not to say in whatever medium that we choose to.
As simple as relating issues of identity with similarities we all might have, just with that a community starts to form. Using our own culture as a concept or narrative to our work can also have a positive impact in our community.
CC: How does/could your artistic practice engage the community? Why is that engagement important? JR: My artistic practice engages the community by creating dialogue about subjects that my community can relate to. I am offering a space where they can experience art in different dimensions yet find a connection to their daily lives. This type of engagement is important because the community becomes more open to the idea of “art” they get to understand. It allows them to appreciate the value that art holds and to open themselves to its concept.
CC: What role does the community have in the production/creation/inception/initiation/activation (choose which words you feel best applies) of art? JR: Its role is in everything and everywhere. There’s “initiation” because we want to create something so the community can hear us, know us or so they can learn.
We are “activating” ideas with the process that allow people to think about new concepts. We are “creating” with the use of materials (any type of materials) and we are “producing” work that will in one way or the another be seen by people in our community. They will relate and react to it.
All this, is just a beautiful cycle of how a community works.
CC: As an artist, how best can a community to support its artists?
JR: ...by attending shows, by being open minded to what’s presented for them. Politically, voting for representatives that support the arts in schools and in our communities. By attending events that support the arts and local artists (like Caldo).
By acknowledging the importance art has in our homes, schools and communities we offer the greatest type of support imageinable.
.end. We'll see you ALL at the feast! Email us if you have any questions! firstname.lastname@example.org