Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My New Hero: Martin Ramírez

So other than my contribution to the AfroPunk Festival the other week (see posting below), I've been on a hiatus from my art. I think its good to take a break and seek out inspiration for new energy. While in my favorite bookstore in the city I came upon a newly arrived art book about the artist Martin Ramírez (1895–1963). An amazing artist from Mexico that came to the States "from Mexico in 1925, Ramírez was institutionalized in 1931, first at Stockton State Hospital, then, beginning in 1948, at DeWitt State Hospital in Auburn, near Sacramento, where he made the drawings for which he is now known." (Wikipedia) He was self-taught who spent most of his life in mental hospitals, diagnosed as a catatonic schizophrenic.
To me this is an amazing story, a brown man migrating to this country to work then ends up mentally ill, stops speaking but was able to create these beautiful works of art. A big part of me finds things like this very interesting, how the human mind works in relation to art. How the human spirit can travel through the hands (or however you create) carrying with it memory, pain, love, etc and many times with the artist not being conscious that they are doing it. He may not be new onto the scene, but he is new to me, so I wanted to share with others who haven't been blessed by his art.


  1. I like this post. I work with mentally disturbed youth and adults in an art program near my house. I am always amazed and inspired by them. Today I taught a women with mental dissablity and blind how to sew. And now she is sewing a quilt. Thanks for posting this, I think this kind of art needs to be seen more often.

  2. Love this post. The artwork speaks for itself - sadly though we still don't have a real system to help with mental health - or even a real perspective when it comes to therapy within the arts and mental health. Thanks, Ben for sharing.