Meet Artist Juan Antonio Angel Ramirez
Brought to you by Talenthouse.
Juan Antonio Angel Ramirez (@theshapesyndicate) is a Mexico-based artist who describes himself as an architect and frustrated DJ trying to properly organize all the shapes that [uninvitedly] land in his brain.
Interviewer Alexi Ueltzen (@alexi) is Ello's Social Media & Email Manager. She lives in Evergreen, CO with her husband, two dogs, and one hedgehog named Ditters who hates everything except for mealworms and tunnels.
You describe yourself as “an architect and frustrated DJ.” How does your background in architecture and music inform the artwork you share on Ello?
The architecture part I guess is pretty obvious: I tend to geometrize everything. When you try to represent that way something organic, every part becomes a ‘room’ and starts to involve proportion, rhythm, scale. The proximity between them creates tension and compromises with each other. A struggle between filled and empty space to conquer an empty lot (canvas). Sometimes a canvas becomes a room. Music is a big part too, is always there. It helps me put things in place. I’ve recently found some good results in my work while [loudly] listening to things like DBFC, Battles, Moon Duo, SUUNS, Dutch Uncles, some classic Jazz and above them all, an infinite loop of 'Insensatez' by Antônio Carlos Jobim, the most beautiful song ever written.
Are you still a practicing architect (and DJ)?
Yes, despite enjoying it less and less every day, doing architecture is still my main source of income. Hope this changes pretty soon. As for the DJ part, I only do it at friend’s parties, nowadays. Coincidentally, I’m convinced both professions are getting less appreciated (Thank you, Pinterest and Spotify)
When did you start drawing/illustrating?
I guess I switched from doodling to drawing when I was around 10 years old in some oil painting lessons near my parents' house. Then, it became mandatory in my College years, and it’s been around since then. I started illustrating around 5 years ago. I’m trying to start painting again in order to enrich my work (digital is still underrated). In the meantime, I’m attending some live-model drawing sessions with some friends in order to keep my hand loose and my rulers away.
Your work is so geometric, yet seems to encompass lots of different styles and techniques. Are you constantly experimenting?
This is a thing I’m questioning myself these days. I enjoy learning and changing techniques, I guess it has to do with the unicity the illustration deserves. I’m also working with local craftsmen in order to achieve that. Style is something still unclear to me. Is it something you achieve from repeating yourself? Or from using a limited color or toolkit? Copying parts of your bestseller?
What inspires a given pattern or portrait?
I’ve had some commission work. In those cases, inspiration comes from the main concept the clients want to achieve. I just translate it with this geometric language I have at hand. The rest is personal work, and in almost all this cases, an image just pops out from nothing or from looking at something (you know, Pareidolia) I just try to quickly put it on paper. It could sound very corny, but kind of happens like that...
Tell us a little about the creative/artist scene in Mexico.
I guess is pretty hot right now. Many eyes in what’s happening here. The same goes to Guadalajara, my home town. It’s recently becoming relevant for the contemporary art and design scene. Hopefully illustration becomes a thing to talk about soon. It all's becoming an interesting mix of tequila, contemporaneity and charrería.
What are your must-have tools for creating?
Very decent headphones and some 4 to 6 non-distracting hours.
Can you speak a little about the role of social media in your artistic pursuits, and why you find value in Ello?
I primarily use Instagram, but still can’t measure the response. It seems too ‘distant’ sometimes. Impersonal. I’ve found Ello to be among friends. Less about likes and more about the work. I’m loving it.
What is something about you that would surprise our readers?
I have almost zero vision in my left eye. I was born like that and nobody noticed (not even me) until my brain learned to function that way. Yes, I can normally drive, play sports (I was a decent baseball player), and of course, draw things in three dimensions. 3D movies are still weird to see, though.
You can follow Juan on Ello and Instagram.