Jerry Ramirez studies fine arts at Massey University and recently finished an overseas exchange in California. While there he made a performance art video which went viral. It has over 500,000 views on YouTube and was posted on many blogs including George Takei’s Facebook page and Ladbible, where a shortened version of it had over five million views. Massive chatted with the artist about his new series of work – Women from Tinder.
Can you explain the idea behind your Women from Tinder series of work?
This idea came up when I decided to try using Tinder when I was on my exchange. I started coming across these heavily funny profiles and after a while started taking screenshots of them with the intention of drawing them. After two months of using Tinder I hadn’t met a single person from it, but I had amassed hundreds of screenshots. Initially I thought about making a zine or something of 15 or so drawings of them. I hadn’t ever used Instagram and partially due to laziness and general accessibility I opted to make an Instagram for it instead. I had a look to see if there were any similar pages on Instagram and there were a few but they were all very misogynistic and just purely making fun of people. My intent with Women from Tinder is to present these profiles without commenting on them. I think they have their own artistic merit without me needing to add anything. I guess the project is a comment on modern dating, and how we choose to present ourselves online. My main aspiration for this project is to inspire a woman to make a Men from Tinder type blog.
Tell me about your performance art video?
I made that as a final project for my performance for the camera class at University of California, San Diego. I had seen the preachers around a lot during my time in America and noticed when people argued with them they just got angrier and no progress was made. Rather than arguing against the preacher’s ridiculous ideals and ethics I decided to join his side by repeating everything he said at the top of my voice. This drew a fair amount of attention to him as before he was mostly ignored, but nobody was on his side. Except me.
You recently went on an exchange, where? How was it? What did you learn?
I was on an exchange to the University of California San Diego for an academic year from last September to June this year. It was pretty good I’d highly recommend it. I learnt how to make friends and what it’s like to go to an American college.
What inspires you?
Everything has the potential you inspire me, Last week I saw a sign for a dress code which said “no jandals, no midriff,” and thought, “damn that’s funny as hell,” so I made a note of it. I’ll probably slot that into something I make in the future whether it be a movie, a background of a painting or in the lyrics of a song.
What is your aesthetic?
My aesthetic is ‘don’t try’, I am a perfectionist that gave up a long time ago and now I tend to do things as efficiently as I can without spending too much time on it. The work I make when I don’t try too hard is generally the best and most unscathed from over-thinking.
Who is your favourite artist?
My favourite artists tend to be ones who do many different things rather than doing one thing really well. I like John Baldessari’s I will not make boring art, to me the concept is usually more important than appearance since beautiful art is already everywhere. In saying that, I still have a look I strive for and don’t like some art just because of what it looks like. I don’t like the art of Keith Harris.
What do you see in your future as an artist?
I would actually rather mainly make films and music than be an full-time artist. I don’t like how the art world works, and I can’t be bothered following their rules to success, even though it’s the same in film and music, but I think it’s more worth it for a career in those. If I do pursue a future as an artist, I forsee a lot of struggle and pain (makes for great art), and a possibly young death followed by a worldwide discovery and post-mortem appreciation for everything I ever created my entire life.
If you could invite five people to dinner, dead or alive, who would they be?
I would invite Ted Bundy and the first four people he killed.
As an artist what is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
This probably came from a professor I had while in San Diego, because often my work is funny, she began to pick up on that and gave me the valuable advice to not make being funny the centrepiece of my art. Unless there is more substance than a joke it’s probably boring art. And the one thing I will never do is make boring art.
Find out more: