Back Talk with Carlos Ramos

Juxtapoz // Monday, 03 Aug 2009
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In attempts to learn more about what makes this animated animator tick, we hit him with our series of Back Talk questions. Check out what he has to say.


How do you feel right now?

 

Very hot. LA’s going through it’s yearly heatwave and I’m waiting for the hill fires to start. I even painted a hot stripper in honor of it –in sunburnt-skin pink!

 

If you could wake up in a different place tomorrow morning, where would it be and what would you do?

 

I’d wake up in the Park Hyatt in Tokyo and swim in it’s awesome roof pool and then off to wristwatch shopping in Harajuku …aaand as long as we’re fantasizing take one of those expensive helicopter rides at night over the city!

If you lost your creative skill, how would you see yourself making a living?

 

Stand-up comedy for me. I’d starve penniless within a couple days but I’d die onstage.

 

If you could punch one living contemporary artist, who would it be?

 

That Tim Biskup! With his fabulous paintings, world traveling lifestyle, incredibly talented daughter who can already out-draw both of us. That guy really needs a punch in the face to feel human again, no?

 

Was your first kiss worth writing a song about?

 

Yeah, if it was sung by Weird Al Yankovic.

 At what point were you particularly happy?

 

My girlfriend, Korin (Faught) and I sat on the garage roof the other night with some icy beers and watched the sun go down. That was a good one.

 

No regrets allowed, but there must have been one?

 

Selling an animated series. It tears you up trying to get a vision to the TV screens. And the politics of it probably shaved a few years off my life. As bad as the worst girlfriend break-ups. But truth be told I’m itching to do another one soon!

 

What trait do your friends have in common?

 

They’re ALL a-holes. I find I’m bored around nice complacent people and seek out those with darker senses of humor and slanted views of the world. They can make you laugh so hard you have headaches the next day. But man, when they turn on you they make it hurt. And I always think, “Oh right, you’re an a-hole!” I love ‘em all.

 

If you had to evacuate your home or studio, what's the one thing you would grab?

 

My Boston Terrier, Bucket ...but would probably run back in braving the fires to get my framed Dan Clowes drawing for the cover of ‘PUSSEY!’.

 Greatest love of your life?

 

Again, my dogson, Bucket. He’s stubborn, can stare at me painting and not move for hours and has a severe foot fetish (he likes to be kicked in the face –no fooling) but I will never raise anyone better.

 

What is your favorite vice?

 

Right now it’s Superjail on Adult Swim. My girlfriend and I get home most nights and check the Tivo just in case we got a new one. It’s basically about what if Willy Wonka ran a high security prison the size of Disney World. It’s beautiful and bloody and always ends with an epic battle. And the art direction is some of the best stuff I’ve ever seen in a cartoon. Kudos to Aaron Augenblick!

 

When you blow out the birthday candles, what do you wish for?

 

Usually that the girl I like likes me back...but this year I think I wished for Penguin clothing sponsorship!

 

If you could play a character from a favorite film or TV show for a day, who would it be?

 

1971 Dirty Harry (Inspector Harry Callahan) with the tweed blazer. Just walk around all day blowing away punks and not doing any paperwork afterwards and pissing off ‘The Chief’. Ahhh, good times.

Do you ever lie?

 

I don’t think so. I find I get in way more trouble doing what comes naturally and saying the first thing that pops into my head regardless who I’m saying it to. Can I take that regret question over again?

 

Do you think viewers understand the intent of your work?

 

Sometimes. I really just want the piece to make them feel something. I think that’s why I paint so large for the most part. I like the idea of somebody having a piece of mine and when a guest sees it around a corner they go, “Whoa!” I really get irked at talking about what influenced me or what it all means. I paint with no real pre-visualization. I want the work to tell me what to do and when to stop. And I want my audience to be an extension of that experience.

 

What virtue can you do without?

 

Probably my defiance. I was raised by a single mother and poor and always had this drive to conquer and prove others wrong. I almost need to be told I can’t do something to get my internal engine going. It’s served me well but as I get older I find I don’t need that virtue anymore.

 

Do you even notice when you're swearing?

 

Only around children. Then I seem to swear more but follow it up by covering my mouth and saying, “I meant ‘duck …hunt’ –I don’t like duck hunters!

 

What has been your proudest moment?

 

Man, that had to be my first solo show at Corey Helford last year. It sold so well and was packed! I spent lots of sleepless nights before it thinking about what people would think or if they’d even show up so to get such a huge response was really humbling...and Gary Busey came!!!

 

What would you like to be remembered for?

 

For living a bold life as an artist. My hero is painter, Miroslav Sasek who illustrated the ‘This Is’ book series starting in the late 50’s. All he did was travel the world with his family and paint everything he saw. Me want that.

 

How would you prefer to die?

 

I always liked the idea from Terrence Malick’s ‘Badlands’ where Charlie Sheen’s character Kit wants to die in a hail of bullets with a girl to scream out his name...beats genital cancer*

 

Open to the public, the reception for Carlos’ upcoming show, “India” will take place on Saturday, August 15 from 7 to 10pm, and the show will be on view until September 3, 2009