Artist of the moment…..Martin Ramirez


Martin Ramirez was a self taught artist born in the year 1895 in Mexico. Ramirez was a fantastic artist that ended up spending a great deal of his life in the mental institutions of California. Having not gone to art school and having a  unique style I would compare to Keith Haring, Ramirez style was thought of as “outsider art” I prefer to think of it as street art before its time.

Ramirez worked with paper as his main surface, all of the pictures in the gallery were done on paper. He produced artwork for nearly thirty years of his life spent in various mental institutions.

Price range information: Most works are done in pencil or mixed media on paper and range from $30,000 to $140,000.

Ramirez was a first a normal family man with a wife and two kids that operated a ranch in Mexico. In 1925 he chose to come to the United States to find work and send money back home to Mexico. In 1931 he was hospitalized for the first time. He was placed at a hospital in Stockton, California first and moved in 1948 to a hospital in Auburn, California. It was in Auburn where he made most of his now famous and highly coveted collages and drawings.

His style is a mixture of Mexican and American folk art.

Ramirez passed away in 1963 at the age of 67 years old.

A short clip about the background of Ramirez. Interesting as our hostess makes some fantastic points about so called “outsider art.”  The clip is from a show featuring the artist at the Milwaukee Art Museum. It also features some interesting facts about his technique such as using his saliva and paste from the kitchen to glue his works together.

Another artist that spent a great deal of time in mental hospitals would be Yayoi Kusama. Kusama was born in 1928 in Japan and is a master of many different artistic mediums including writing, sculpting, and painting. Kusama moved to New York city during the peak of abstract expressionism. She failed at her goal of becoming a great artist in the states. She moved back to Japan, concentrated on writing short stories, and checked herself into a hospital for the mentally ill. She has lived in the hospital since 1973. She has an easily recognizable style with her bold bright colors and dots. I have done a long post on her before as she is my favorite Japanese artist and what a unique story to boot. She still produces works to this day. Here is a signature work by Kusama and she has an artwork sell for more than 5 million u.s. dollars which is a record for a  living female artist.



And this short video about the artist. She is very successful as a commercial artist and business woman with her easily recognizable style.


Don’t forget that Van Gogh was highly emotional and spent time in mental hospitals as well. Everyone in the world has something to offer the art world. These artists all looked through the world with their own very unique eyes.

Another artist I have written about has been in the news lately for his work of art using light on the San Francisco Bridge. His name is Leo Villareal.


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