“I am an expressionist and a realist of the modern era”
Madison.- Chele Ramos, was born in Orem, Utah, USA, to a Latino father and an American mother. Her first language is English and she is learning Spanish to better connect with her roots; but she considers herself Latina because she comes from a fourth generation Latino family and she has never been to Mexico.
Chele, in addition to being a mother and homeschooler, as an artist she considers herself a realist painter and as such she is inspired by people, the universe, inner thoughts and feelings. Chele is an independent artist and her art is Realist Expressionism. Expressionism is based on the development of German literature from the years 1900-1920, for her art is a form of therapy for mental health.
Out loud, Chele says that artists need support from the community and the City to continue making art!!
Q.- Where do you live? How long have you been in Madison and why did you choose this city?
A.- I live just outside of Madison, in Sun Prairie. I grew up in Madison, moved away for several years and then moved back. I chose to move back because I have so much family in the Madison area.
Q.- Before starting your great adventure as an artist, what was your daily world like (BEFORE)? What did you do? Where did you live?
A.- Before I began painting, I worked odd jobs out in Portland, Oregon while going to school for Massage Therapy. I worked in the service industry mostly. After I graduated, I moved back to Madison with my husband, who I met in Massage School, and I worked as a Massage Therapist for several years. When I gave birth to my first son, I gave up Massage Therapy to be home with him. We decided to homeschool our kids, so I have been doing that for about 12 years.
Q.- What event, reason or motive prompted (catalyst) you to embark on this adventure of being an artist?
A.- I started painting as a way to reconnect with my creative side and do something good for my mental health.
Q.- Before embarking on the adventure of an artist, what made you doubt? What excuses or pretexts did you have in your mind?
A.- I was always too busy or too tired to draw or paint. Other people needed my attention all the time, so it was hard to find the time and energy do things for myself.
Q.- Who was your mentor or tutor, someone who encouraged you, advised you, or oriented you to keep going?
A.- I started painting with a friend of mine once per week at her house. She encouraged me to start painting, and many friends and family members have encouraged me to keep painting over the years. I have a fantastic support network.
Q.- How long have you been painting? Why this art form and not another? At what age did you start painting?
A.- I have been painting for about six years. I was almost 35 when I started painting. I wanted to learn to paint because I was curious about it. I drew a lot when I was a kid, but never really tried painting until I was older. My Grandmother was an oil painter, and my Mother painted when she was young, so I thought I’d try it. I like a challenge, and I thought painting was something that seemed challenging enough, but also achievable. I tried it and loved it.
Q.- What are your themes?
A.- I call myself a portrait artist, but as I grow my art is becoming more and more about mental health.
Q.- Where does your inspiration come from? inspirations? Why you paint?
A.- I am inspired by the people and the world around me, but also by my inner thoughts and feelings.
Q.- How do you connect to the fourth dimension? Method if any (meditation, etc)
A.- I would not call myself spiritual, but when I am in nature I feel a strong connection to the world and universe around me.
Q.- What do you want and hope to convey with your art/work?
A.- I hope to bring people a sense of hope and connection with my artwork. I hope to spark important conversations about mental health.
Q.- How can you define your art?
A.- My art is my way of searching within myself and expressing myself. My art is a part of me that I want to show the world. My art is for me as much as it is for the viewer.
Q.-What is your style and what techniques do you use?
A.- I would say that my art is Realistic Expressionism.
Q.-What projects are you currently working on?
A.- I am working on my next body of work that is all about my own Mental Health.
Q.-Do you admire any culture? Mythology? symbolism?
A.- I admire many cultures. I admire Latino culture and connect with it in that it is part of my heritage. I am currently learning Spanish so that I can connect with my roots even more. I admire people who can speak several languages and who share their culture with others.
I find it interesting to learn how people do things differently in different parts of the world. Someday I would love to travel the world.
Q.- What exhibitions or events have you recently participated in?
A.- I currently have my work up at the Overture Center on floor 3!
I took part in several exhibitions last year including a group show at Commonwealth Gallery for Dia de los Muertos, a group show at Feral Gallery, a solo show at Mother Fool’s coffee shop, and other shows. I also participated in a couple of art fairs last year including DABL, and Latino Art Fair!
Q.- Are you working on any project right now? Do you have ideas for the future?
A.- Yes, I’m currently working on my next body of work, and I have mini shows I am also working on. My future plans include exhibiting my work, participating in more art fairs, and working bigger.
Q.- What other art forms have a big impact on your own art?
A.- I am influenced by other people’s art all the time. I love seeing how other artists do things. I enjoy looking at drawings, paintings, murals, sculptures, and I love watching videos of people doing these things too.
Q.-Is being an artist a job? Do you do other jobs?
A.- It is a job, but it’s also a passion. My other jobs are Mother and Homeschooler.
Q.-At this point in your life, what do you want most as an artist? Do you think that art is positive as therapy and cure?
A.- I want my art to influence people and to bring people hope and beauty. Yes, I think art is a very effective form of therapy and can greatly aid in the healing process.
Q.-What are the requirements to be an artist? Vocation?
A.- Anyone can be an artist. In fact, we are all artists in some way.
Q.- What kind of support do you receive from the city where you live to be an artist? If Any?
A.- I have received support from Dane Arts! They have helped me financially, and also in the form of offering me opportunities and connections. Also, the people who live here are supportive.
Q.-What kind of support would you like to see and receive from the city? And why is this important for the city and community?
A.- I would love more financial support, and even more job opportunities would be great. It is important that artists are given support, because we are doing so much for the community. If we are to keep making art, we need support!
Q.- If you had a magic wand, how would you use art to solve problems of violence especially with young people (Gangs that use guns or knives)?
A.- I would make the perfect piece of art that would help those broken souls heal so that they did not feel compelled to hurt each other.
Q.-What is your job now, what does it consist of, functions and responsibilities? (When you’re not painting)
A.- I am a Mother, and Homeschooler. I also am a freelance artist. I put on workshops sometimes, I do commission work, I take on odd art jobs sometimes, I participate in art fairs, and I exhibit my work whenever I can.
Q.- What is your direct or indirect involvement with the Latino community?
A.- I participate in art events with other Latinos through LOUD. I also am Latino, and come from a family of Latinos. I, however, am a bit disconnected from much of Latino culture. I am fourth generation here, have never been to Mexico, and do not know that side of my family well. I never learned Spanish, because my Grandfather never spoke it in his house even though he was fluent. My father never learned, therefore I never learned. I am trying to learn it now and connect myself with my Latino roots.