Artists You Should Know: Martín Ramírez

Via Zoom; For ages 18+

Sunday, September 20, 2020
1 - 3 PM

Register Online

Join us as we explore the life, legacy, and art of one of the 20th-century's most tragic, talented, and important artists: Martín Ramírez. The self-taught artist produced more than 300 drawings referencing his Mexican heritage, Catholic iconography, and his life as a tenant rancher and horseman, as well as dynamic vistas of landscapes filled with trains and tunnels. Following the presentation, participants will experiment with paper, lamination, and drawing. Registration closes September 17 at midnight.

Instructor Daphne Burgess is an African American artist from Sacramento, CA. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums including the Brickhouse Art Gallery, Sojourner Truth African Heritage Museum, Sacramento State University, Crocker Art Museum, and the African American Museum and Library in Oakland, CA. Burgess relocated to Alabama in 2019 and opened a gallery and studio, Gallery 157. The goal of the space is to increase access to art experiences through exhibitions, workshops and collaboration.

About the Artist

A Catholic tenant rancher from Jalisco, Mexico, Martín Ramírez was un hombre de caballo (a man of the horse), a badge of social standing in his community. In 1925, he left his family and came to California seeking high-paying work with the railroads. Six years later, because he was exhibiting an odd and disorderly demeanor, he was arrested in Stockton and committed to a state hospital. Later transferred to a facility in Auburn, Ramírez occupied his time with drawing, using any materials at hand: crayons, charcoal, fruit juice, shoe polish, and saliva applied with matchsticks.

Untrained, Ramírez was gifted at pictorial organization and graphic design. His compositions tended to sprawl off the paper, and when this happened he simply attached more and continued. His drawings eventually came to the attention of art professionals and were subsequently collected and exhibited. Ramírez’s first exhibition was organized by the Crocker.

In the late '50s noted artist Wayne Thiebaud was permitted to visit Ramírez and view several drawings first-hand. "What you look for, I think, if you're interested in painting and drawing, are those things which captivate you in some way, which sort of knock you off your feet for a minute," declared Thiebaud. "You don't quite know what's going on. And along that line, his work has this very riveting kind of attention."

Supplies-to-Go Bag

Running low on supplies or just want to avoid going to the store? Purchase a Supplies-to-Go Bag, conveniently packed and quarantined for at least 72 hours and ready for curbside pick-up at a designated time. Available at registration. Limit one per participant.

Want to order your own supplies? Purchase the following materials: markers, charcoal sticks, paper bags, and or any brand liquid glue — Elmer's glue prefered. Allow ample time for deliveries to ensure you are ready to go when class begins. Note: All participants will need access to Zoom.


$55 members
$70 nonmembers
$15 supply fee (optional)

Not a member? Click here to join today!

Register by clicking the REGISTER button above, or email for assistance.

Image: Martín Ramírez (Mexican, 1895–1963), Untitled (detail), n.d. Graphite and crayon on brown paper, 24 1/8 x 49 3/8 in. Crocker Art Museum, gift of the Estate of Martín Ramírez, 2009.50.2. © Estate of Martín Ramírez

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