I first encountered Aurie Ramirez’s work at a Madrid art fair at the stand belonging to the Jack Hanley gallery from San Francisco. As it turned out, she makes drawings within the context of Studio Creative Growth, the world’s largest and oldest studio for handicapped adult artists. Ramirez is autistic. The following questions have been interpreted by Jennifer O’Neal, the manager of her studio.
What does folk art mean to you? What relationship does your work have to folk art?
Aurie’s work is related to folk art in the sense that she never followed formal training, she’s an autodicact. She’s driven by the desire to create.
Do you think that in this world without borders, folk art can have an influence that rises above its own cultural territories and the context in which it was made?
Folk art definitely exerts an influence. After all, outsider art has long been collected by art institutes and private collectors, and has inspired generations of artists. Possibly, outsider art has had such a great influence thanks to its unmistakeable “enlightening” qualities. A strong capability to communicate with the viewer, the driving force behind its creation and its subject matters that are extremely personal and honest contribute to the work’s originality, in turn allowing it to enlighten the viewer.
Could you describe the folk art you grew up with?
There are many elements in her work that can be traced back to her youth and the parental home: family dinners, the band Kiss, the TV show The Addams Family, and punk inspired fashion.