Javier “Javi” Ramirez (b. 1982, Los Angeles) was raised in the San Fernando Valley, using the area’s urban and suburban iconography as a focal point for his practice. The amalgamation of desert landscape and city ecosystem is a major point of inspiration for the artist, who uses a range of media and recurring motifs to pay homage to his hometown culture. Raised by Mexican immigrant parents, Ramirez’s work is undoubtedly defined by his experience as a first-generation citizen, riffing on the common outcomes of bifurcated identity. He hopes this narrative is one all first-generation Americans can relate to, probing the viewer to consider the liminal space that exists between generations.
Perhaps the most intriguing element of Ramirez’s personal and artistic trajectory is his relationship to Japanese culture and its aesthetics, which was cultivated during his time working at a bonsai nursery. Similar to the way a tree’s shape is evidence of its own history and struggle, each of his paintings are records themselves, where every layer holds a snapshot of physical process, metaphor, or cultural identity.