Monday, December 19, 2016

Spotlight on artist and educator, José Ramírez

José Ramírez and Daniel Olivas

One of the great joys of publishing a book is having some say in the art that is chosen to adorn its cover. I have been blessed to be published by presses that have listened and considered my suggestions.

In 2009, Bilingual Press published my short-story collection, Anywhere But L.A. The press showed me several pieces of art to consider, and the one I chose was by Los Angeles-based artist, José Ramírez. This is the final product:

After many years of attempting to meet José, I finally had a chance to visit his home and studio because my wife and I desperately wanted to buy a painting or print by José for our new home.  We were not disappointed. We got to meet his wife, mother-in-law, and one of his three daughters. They are all accomplished in their own way.

After a great visit where we learned that we might be related (we both have family from Ocotlán in Jalisco, and I have family named Ramírez), my wife and I purchased a beautiful, signed print.

José earned his BFA (1990) and MFA (1993) from UC Berkeley and teaches third grade at Esperanza Elementary in the Pico-Union neighborhood of Los Angeles (not far from where I grew up). In 1995, he received a California Teaching Credential from Cal State University, Los Angeles.

José has illustrated children’s books, painted murals, and completed commissions for numerous organizations and individuals. Please visit his website ( to look at his remarkable art.

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