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Arts & Culture

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Meet the Artists Behind SA’s Most Iconic Restaurant Interiors

Photo: Courtesy, License: N/A

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Duran's Día de los Muertos-inspired remix of Renoir’s 'Luncheon of the Boating Party' at Bistro Vatel

Photo: Rolando Ramirez Ramos, License: N/A

Rolando Ramirez Ramos

Tatum's Mellow Mushroom Man in Space mural at Mellow Mushroom


So is there trade involved in your relationships?
Work for food kind of things? When I was first getting started but not anymore.

What is your favorite thing to eat at some of the places that do show your work?
Well, at SoLuna, I like their chicken chipotle fettuccini, or the shrimp, that’s got the hearts of palm but [their] fish tacos are excellent. At Rosario’s I like the lengua, it’s very good. At Bite, I like their lamb cigar. I like the Chilean sea bass at Bistro Vatel [and] of course Zinc’s wines and Champagnes.

So where would you say you fit in between a contemporary artist and a commercial artist?
Your drawings, your sketches and everything starts out the same way as a commercial artist. It’s just the end result. Illustrations are, to me, some of the better paintings there are. Like Norman Rockwell; he’s “just an illustrator.” A lot of artists can’t paint as good as that. But still, the golden rule is, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No matter how much time you spend on a piece of art, how little time you spend, some people are going to like it and some are not.

Are there any local artists that you do collect?
I used to collect a lot when I was starting painting. I had one by Raul Gutierrez, he was a an illustrator for the San Antonio Light and he is still painting. And Porfirio Salinas; I did own one of his at one time.

Can you tell us about the project that you’re going to do in Paris?
I am going up there for a photoshoot. ... I’ve never been anywhere in Europe and it’ll be the first time so it’s just going to be like an adventure. I’m going to seek out popular locations and I want people in there but I also want the the buildings.

Will you be in the photos?
In some ... I’m gonna do one specifically when I’m painting in front of a street scene in front of the Moulin Rouge.

Is that the Chicano in Paradise?
Yeah, with his muse.

So do you sometimes name your paintings before they exist?
Yeah, most of them.

 

ROBERT TATUM

Could you introduce yourself and give an overview of where readers may have already seen your work?
I’ve always been an artist. I was born to know how to draw. I never went to art school; I went to school for marketing and design. The art thing, I just love art. I always drew and painted; I just fell into it. People liked my art and I started showing. ... My whole thing is untraditional in the way that I present myself as a fine artist. I don’t do it on purpose; I don’t know how to do it in the traditional, “right” way. It just works for me. I’ve shown in galleries, I’ve shown at Blue Star, Ana Montoya has represented me at shows in her place [AnArte Gallery]. But my favorite thing is places like coffee shops, restaurants. Bars … can be fun for a one-night thing, but the reality is I like underground spaces and one-night shows. If you have your work up for a month in a coffee shop or in a restaurant, it’s fun that people can see it and it adds something to that bar or restaurant, but I charge now. I don’t show my art in bars and restaurants. People really don’t buy it. If you’ve got $25 prints in a Family Dollar frame, you can string something, but I’m on a more professional level now. If I do my paintings, they start at $4,000, $4,500 dollars. And they wouldn’t sell at coffee shops. That’s what I do for a living, I’m aware of money.

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