Earlier this year on a cold January morning, I was invited to the inner nebula of the Ramiro World - his Brooklyn studio. Coming off the heels of the Dripped On the Road inaugural road trip, and getting ready for the next mobile residency, he was able to make some time in his busy schedule – for Ramiro Davaro-Comas, there isn’t much time wasted.
As our conversation began, and my morning coffee was kicking in; I noticed this go-getter’s energy striking me more as a business mogul than street artist. I had to ask about his background right away; low & behold – Ramiro was a business major at UMass. Growing up in Argentina, South America his family immigrated to the US at a young age. His father was accepted into a residency program in MA, concentrating on infectious disease. They went back and forth to Buenos Aires during his childhood, but Worcester, MA was his art come-up, and where he started exploring different ideas. From an early age he was heavily influenced by the prolific Illustrator Ralph Steadman.
"Ramiro fell into the skate scene as a teenager. He drew 'Steadman-esque' characters that reflected the grind culture."
Ramiro got around on his skateboard, and fell into the scene as a teenager. He started drawing “Steadman-esque” characters that reflected the grind culture. Now closed, Skate Paradise in suburban MA was one of the places he met kids who wanted to put his characters on stickers, patches, pins, t-shirts, and eventually customized boards. He understood providing his customer with a product they wanted. From that point he was sure he could do the art thing, decorating every surface he could get his hands on, the bigger the better.
In addition to skateboards and Steadman; Ramiro is influenced by childhood comic books and animation, European and South American street life, and murals worldwide.
Video by Keith Aronowitz
After college, and a few European residencies, Ramiro landed in the mecca of street art - NYC. The large-scale murals becoming more popular, appealed to this artistic entrepreneur. Putting his little sketches, drawings and iconography into a large format brings them to life in a different way. But there are more facets to just painting and honing his craft and unique style, at least that's how Ramiro sees it. He also feels it’s vital to consistently obtain clients, sponsors, partnerships, funding for more projects; all with the hopes of growth, opportunities, development, and more sophisticated project management.... wait a minute: Are we still talking art? You better believe it: Diversify your portfolio and scale up your production value, if you want to succeed.
It was the first week of 2017, and it was bitter cold; not only the temperature outside, but the mood throughout America. I know how this failure of democracy has affected me, and the impact on artists I’ve spoken to since has been pretty consistent. Working with Sold Magazine, and the opportunity to formally interview these creative individuals, every one has mentioned the night he was elected. How it made them feel, the moments of despair, but then - how they responded.
No one has given up, they’ve only been pushing harder since. Ramiro is no exception, and he’s compelled to find a way to be heard in the crowd. A crowd he sees as increasing on the scene. And that takes more work than just creating art. It takes organized and strategic planning, with a team of like minded individuals. Even if the time to become an organic self-sustainable farmer is sooner upon us than we thought, for now Ramiro’s team will continue to create art.
When Ramiro met Jon Neville & Denton Burrows, their 3 minds started to form and collaborated like a great classic rock band; each bringing passion, talent, knowledge & drive. They met at an art show, got involved in a few small projects together, and they each saw one another's vision. Ramiro's favorite job with them was being invited to paint at Mysteryland. When they told him he could run around painting any wall surface or cube he saw - he knew these were his people.
"When Ramiro met Jon Neville & Denton Burrows, their 3 minds collaborated like a great classic rock band"
Both Denton & Jon are born & raised NYers, but exploring the rest of the country with the DOTR residency program, not only has been a huge influence on their art, but their patriotism. As any great rock band would, they bring along other great guest artists on tour to showcase & work with, in addition to collaborating with local artists in each city they visit. The cherry on top is that they leave their own unique pieces throughout the declining landscape. City dwellers, and “Real New Yorkers” might not fare well without running water or electricity. One of the terrible thoughts we can't bear to confront. The group’s eyes were opened to how much more prepared the rest of the country was. The man in the White House may speed up the process, but we only have ourselves to blame in not knowing how to live off the land.
The All-American Beer Company, Pabst Blue Ribbon could not have been a better match as a client and supporter for the threesome. With Ramiro as the team’s Managing Director of DOTR, he realized the relationship his partner Denton had just made with the Beer Co. by winning the National Can Art Competition in 2016. In addition, the most ideal client is one that gives you the least limitations on your creativity. A client that believes in your vision, and trusts your judgement.
Ramiro has absolutely found that relationship with PBR. Not only himself, but the entire Dripped On The Road Crew has benefited from the freedom of expression PBR has allowed their promotions of the product. It is crucial to Ramiro that he prove to PBR, not only is their artwork original and exceptional, but they could direct the projects consistently and professionally, no matter location or obstacle.
After the 2nd DOTR Residency Program, and before the 3rd - I was able to catch up with Ramiro again. The scene was similar, but the Summer heat had arrived. Ramiro learned hard lessons since we last spoke, with more growth comes more responsibilities. How to take care of the residents, make sure they are safe, fed, well rested, and also enjoying themselves at the same time. Keeping them happy not only makes for a better experience, but it serves everyone in the future as the project grows.
Lauren Asta, a San Francisco based muralist who works text into her illustrations, was a featured artist on the 2nd DOTR trip. Being influenced by his fellow road tripper, Ramiro thought about how to incorporate text into his walls. Something he always did in his zines, books, and smaller pieces, but never in larger murals. Look out for more in the future, I think I saw an example this past weekend.
With all the talk about growth, where does an artist go after he becomes Managing Director & Founder of his own traveling residency program? Ramiro sees a home base on the horizon. A place where exhibits take place, work occurs, and meetings take place. The program becoming accredited with institutions, and universities would also add credibility. They have given guest lectures in the middle of the residencies, and further experience and partnership gives the team more education cred!
And speaking of education, The Art Students League of New York is a very special place for many artists around the world. Ramiro will be participating in a lecture series this Fall, so keep an eye out for that in between the 3rd & 4th DOTR of 2017... Ramiro's trajectory is really through the roof!
AND speaking of roofs... Right before I started to pack up my gear, Ramiro mentioned his rooftop. It was too cold the first time, and since then he had practiced his first version of his "Trump Hellride". Well, I never pass up a chance to see a rooftop view. I was honored to get a glimpse, and to have the exclusive shots of his secret work for Sold Magazine. I definitely get excited when I find a new Ramiro characters around my city, so this made my day! As he continues to travel the globe and paint, I know I'll find more as I travel, too.
Ramiro and The DOTR traveling residency are headed on the road again. Follow along on IG, and find them in your local city:
Also be sure to pick up his newest zine, Hell in a Bucket, a visual depiction of last year's circus - The 2016 Election, a wild ride that Ramiro captures in his own unique way!
Thank you Ramiro - for your patience, your genius talent, and your relentless energy to achieve your goals!