Gustavo Ramos

15th Annual ARC Salon (2020-2021)

Gustavo Ramos

United States

GUSTAVO RAMOS (b. 1993) is a Brazilian-born artist who moved to Phoenix at the age of 15 and taught himself to communicate through careful observation and the language of drawing. During his difficult adolescent years, when Ramos spoke little English, he relied on reading such non-verbal cues as facial expressions and body language. This experience would ultimately inform his future career as a realist portraitist. “Equipped with a heightened sensitivity to the subtleties of facial and other physical gesticulations because of that time in my life, I became motivated to depict the figure in pencil,” he explains. “Today, those formative years aid me in my practice as a way to explore emotion through oil paint and depict figures as agents in their own stories.”

The 26-year-old artist has made a career of painting people’s stories through portraiture that explores a range of emotions. In the work "Infinity", Ramos has depicted his wife at a time when she was battling anxiety. “My wife was struggling with a faith crisis and having panic attacks related to the fear of death,” the artist shares. “Seeing her wrestle with the mystery of life after death and the concept of eternity fueled the making of this painting. It was not an attempt to find answers to these questions, but rather an exploration of how one can live without a perfect knowledge of all things.”

In addition to portraits of his own choosing such as Infinity, Ramos has recently started exploring the realm of commissioned portraiture. “A large percentage of my all-time favorite paintings from the past were, in fact, commissioned,” he explains. “Even though our contemporary art scene exalts self-expression, when taking on private commissions I feel an added sense of connection to my favorite portraitists, such as Van Dyck, Velázquez, and Sargent. I aspire to match their depth of emotion with the brush, so that my paintings will become part of portraiture’s rich tradition, too.”

Primarily self-taught, Ramos has relied on studying and copying these and other Old Masters. Another significant influence has been Rembrandt. “He created the sense of real people who had real experiences,” says Ramos. “I too hope to create works of timeless beauty and project authentic human experiences through my paintings.” -Allison Malafronte, Fine Art Connoisseur Magazine

* This statement has been provided directly by the artist in association to their 15th International ARC Salon entries. This content has not been edited for typos or grammatical errors and has not been vetted for accuracy.