Unedited conversations between artist in a productive critique discovering thesis and processes behind the work.
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You're Not Drake, 2014
8 1/2 x 11 in.
Ramos: how do you translate "desgraciado" in English?
Rondon: well. the word desgraciado is, I think, a really great insult
I'm not sure what the translation to English would be, but it is directed towards a person's character, see "desgraciado" sounds like a total asshole, you know if you're calling someone that, they must be an asshole
un desgraciado = someone unfortunate, lol is what Google translates it to
the Spanish language is much more complex than that
Ramos: it is unfortunate to have that qualification of character, it does mean more than unfortunate
this new zine "You're Not Drake" is sort of derogatory towards men... was that your intention?
Rondon: its actually a personal attack towards someone that really changed my life
the photos in the zine were a part of my life when I completely lost control
i was attacking a man
Ramos: just one
Rondon: after being attacked by him
Ramos: as opposed to "Latina Seeks Thug" which is more of a general statement
You're Not Drake is a zine of images of my ex boyfriends apartment and notes I left on his walls after finding out he was cheating on me
I was going through a crazy range of emotions, the day that I spray painted the "break up letters" on his wall, I also happened to get my forehead tattooed.
Rondon: I was going nuts, my ego had never been bruised like that before but I also have never seen life as clearly as I did that day
before I started spray painting my feelings, I claimed it as art
Ramos: and why the title?
Rondon: because my ex seriously thought he was Drake
and i was constantly telling him he wasn't
You're Not Drake, 2014
8 1/2 x 11 in.
Ramos: how so?
I don't know too much about Drake at all
Rondon: he's great
he would take a screen shot of whatever Drake Song fit the situation best, it made me crazy
Ramos: was this before or after the "Latina Seeks Thug" project?
Rondon: it was before, this happened in February
Ramos: was the "Thug" project in response or related in any way to your Drake project
Rondon: No they are totally unrelated pieces, I mean they definitely speak on behalf of the crazy behaviors of men (and women because both pieces are just as much about women as well).
Ramos: tell me more about the second project "Latina Seeks Thug"
Latina Seeks Thug, 2014
8 1/2 x 11 in.
Rondon: Latina Seeks Thug was a project I came up with while I was spending a lot of time alone. I had this longing loneliness and was also really bored with the work I was making at the time and thought the project would be a good shift.
I've been afraid of conceptual art from this idea that conceptual artists are like these insanely smart artists that no one can actually understand and then I was like wait, I'm going to try this concept and name it art, and realized that that's all it is.
Pardon if I sound ignorant, my art history background is non-existent so I might not even really know what I'm talking about.
art always freaks me out and speaking about it is the worst because its so easy to make someone sound like a total ding-dong when they are trying to explain something they cannot
Ramos: what did you learn from this project?
Rondon: The project opened my mind to a new way of viewing and creating art. It freed me, in a way. I suddenly met this new me that didn't see art as just a painting or drawing, and being a painter, that's helped me a lot with how I approach my work now.
Ramos: there was some truth revealed, in bringing all these responses to one place, as one piece, which makes it powerful, for me
there is a clarity a voice of these gentlemen that identify themselves as "Thugs", their responses carried a specific tone, language, that you were able to capture
a contemporary manifestation of how we communicate today, both virtually and in a way sexually
most of your responses were sexual, wouldn't you say?
Rondon: I would say about 80%
the rest were either telling me I'm not serious, insulting me or telling me to get my pretty face off the Internet
I honestly was so shocked with the responses I'm still not sure how I feel about the whole piece
Ramos: me neither, but it is a extreme reflection of modern romance and modes of communication
Rondon: absolutely, i feel very lucky to have made that body of work and shocked myself and my audience with the piece. There's so much to it but also nothing more than little sex offerings in a way.
It's fucked up
theres so much i can say about the piece but its more for the viewer to get whatever they want from it and make up whatever they want from it.
Ramos: sex offerings - do you think that is the foundation of most of today's virtual exchanges?
like dating sites, social media, etc.
Rondon: I honestly believe that yes, most virtual exchanges are sex offerings. I literally open up my Facebook and can't even look through the messages cause it's all these thirsty dudes just saying "hi" and it's like gross dude. it freaks me out
Ramos: and on that same note, tell me about "Dat Ass Zine"
Dat Ass Zine, 2014
8 1/2 x 11 in.
Rondon: Dat Ass zine is a silly project I started when I went to Ultra music festival for the first time this year
there were all these naked or half naked chicks everywhere, and I guess I have a butt fetish, so I just lurked around and found butts that I liked, even the ugly ones, I love butts
it's like the animal in me
I carried around a few disposable cameras and just snapped away
Ramos: do you think it is a Miami thing?
Rondon: nah, it's a girl thing
i mean girls in Miami are more comfortable with showing skin because its a million degrees out everyday
but some of the photos in the zine are actually from New York
I definitely feel like girls in Miami exude much more sexual energy than any other city I've been to and since realizing that, I have become much more comfortable in my own skin.
Ramos: other than Miami temperature, is there culture behind this energy?
Rondon: yes, i think Latin or Hispanic people (and I say Latin because Miami is like 80% Latino/ Hispanic population) are just like these horny little sexual beings and we're just like boom, sex, yes, we love it, lets all make a million babies
lets all get naked
Ramos: I appreciate that your work is starting to explore that
Rondon: its such a big part of who I am, why hide it, ya know
i grew up in this insanely horny city, it's just part of who I am
and I like making art that makes people horny
feeling anything from someones work is great, if you get a boner or slightly aroused when looking at my work, thats ok, it's totally human.
I like having the freedom to explore sexual power without having to actually touch anyone
Ramos: moving forward, how do you imagine exploring this further?
Rondon: exploring sex in my work?
idk, I just kind of let things come to me, I try to plan as little as possible when approaching my work because the work I always over analyze I feel never finalizes
Ramos: not sex explicitly, the energy, the cultural fever
Rondon: I have no idea what I'm doing ever and I think thats why its so fun
if it continues to come to me sure, but i also don't want to lump myself into the pervert category
it seems like a fine line
although, so far, I find your work tasteful
Rondon: I'm not just a perverted artists, I like exploring my sexuality at the moment because it's something I've held back on for so long. I've done the nude modeling and all that other naked stuff but exposing this "naughty" side of myself I find more risky than getting naked in front of a lens
thank you, i try to keep it tasteful
Ramos: It takes courage to explore this aspect of society that seems to be swept under the rug
an intrinsic and natural force within human beings, your work is starting to represent that
Rondon: i feel like I'm a good candidate to do these things because I'm so used to being attacked by people at this point that I finally have the skin to take criticisms, not a lot of people can handle being criticized on a daily basis and I am a walking definition of that.
everywhere I go, people are staring at me, and that comes with a great amount of responsibility both physically and spiritually.