Interview with Esther Ramirez of Essimar

Esther Ramirez of Essimar has long been one of my favorite mixed media artists and I'm thrilled to be able to share an interview with her here. Her use of color, pattern, negative space, free forms, and lines always inspires me and I appreciate her strong style and playful use of paper. She's bound to thrill if you're not already following her work.

1. How do you describe the style of your work?

Most of my work is made by printmaking, hand cutting, and collage with assembly. Every so often, I like to go outdoors and photograph my work in a living environment, outside of where it was created, or to later be part of an installation. Color is supreme in my work; it is the only constant. Other than that, I like to work outside of a given format. My pieces no matter the medium should tell as simple story through color and pattern--they cannot be explained outside of these elements, because who can explicate, without being boring or pretentious, color or pattern?

2. What is the process you go through from the conception to the execution of an idea? Do you sketch it out first, do measurements, or just go for it?

My process begins with a visual sketch, you can find notes of these little sketches in my pockets daily. Then the sketches are all gathered on my concept wall where I end up choosing a pattern for the day. Most of my work is a small scale schematic of a final larger piece in the works. I push myself to make a piece of work everyday--it could take an hour or all day; I'll even try to create on my lunch-breaks. There is no excuse to not limit your potential creative impulses. Mine are color.

3. Who has influenced your work, or who are you most inspired by?

Bakers. I find a true inspiration from bakeries not just because I have a sweet tooth but because of the daily process. Every morning bakers make fresh batches of bread, cookies, cupcakes... etc for their loyal customers and these little handmade assembled pieces are expected to be fresh and visually appetizing everyday. Repetition and process makes the recipe or the hand better, that is why all of my pieces are really handmade. I make all original pieces because I believe that it strengthens my process and I'm delivering a piece of original art.

7. Describe an average day.

Wake up at 6, work on orders, get ready for work, leave at 8am, get to work by 9, get home after work around and after 6. Work and read until 10 or midnight. Bed and do it all over again, about five times a week. On my days off (Mondays and Tuesdays), I work on everything Essimar Papel about 10-16 hours.

8. Biggest challenge to date?

Working a full-time job, being in school and growing Essimar Papel.

9. Most exciting moment to date?

I love having breakfast in the mornings with my boyfriend. Walking to Intelligentsia before and after work. Going out dancing once in a while. Catching the Metra and visiting my parents in the suburbs. Riding the CTA observing rooftops and graffiti. Finding color paper. Riding my bike again to work from Hyde Park to the city.

About a month ago, a very big art store in Chicago closed their doors and had an assortment of the most high quality of printing papers at ridiculous 90% markdowns. My boyfriend kindly helped me cart everything back to the car and now I have fine printing paper from all vendors for the next ten years.

10. Where would you like your work to take you?

Eventually I would like my work simultaneously sold in Target and Marimekko.

Thank you, Esther, for sharing a peek into your life and work and for motivating all of us to make beautiful, meaningful things! Search through more of Esther's work in her Flickr feed and see what she's up to on her blog.



the girl next dior said...

wow! thaks for posting these I love colorful creative people, she reminds me of Katie from colormekatie.blogspot.com!

-- Maya

Unknown said...

wow what an inspiring, honest interview! i really love her use of color. those cards with the multicolor paper hearts are awesome!

katielicht said...

whoa. this kind of blew my mind. LOVE!

lili est folle said...

what an inspiring girl!! i really love her colorful world! direct into my fav!!

sarah said...

great interview! such a huge fan of esther's. ;)

sarah said...
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