Artist to showcase work in pop-up exhibit

JR Ortega By JR Ortega

Sept. 18, 2013 at 4:18 a.m.

The photos are as cryptic as the process, but that's what makes it art - at least that is how Jake Ramirez sees it.

But this newly adopted appreciation for his own 5-year-old talent has not always come natural for the 32-year-old.

The Victoria native was - in a sense - discovered at April's Victoria TX Independent Film Festival, and it's been full steam ahead ever since.

"I thought of it as me just doing something with my time," said Ramirez, whose work of abstract, long exposure lighting in 35 mm camera film will be showcased at a gallery of both digital and film print at his Pop-Up Gallery in Victoria on Saturday.

Ramirez becomes a night crawler most nights, finding the darkest places in and outside of the Crossroads to hone his pieces.

He first picked up the craft while fiddling with an old camera. He saw the long exposures people would take of themselves spelling out their names with sparklers and glow sticks.

That's when the idea of perfecting those lighted, long exposures came to fruition, he said.

He began going out looking for creepy places to bring his creations to life.

The photos started off simple, with lights from traffic blurring across the print, making a colorful array of neon lights.

Then, it evolved to perfecting orbs in the photos. Now, his latest signature is hands warping out of thin air like something out of a supernatural movie.

"I had never put myself out there like that," Ramirez said about going from doing something for a hobby to selling pieces for hundreds of dollars.

Anthony Pedone, founder of the film festival, contends that Victoria has plenty of talent and that hosting events outside of the film festival is one more outlet artists did not have.

"There is so much on the horizon for Jake," said Pedone, who is helping Ramirez promote his first solo exhibit.

Most people cannot believe Ramirez's work is light manipulation. Most shout that it's Photoshop or computer-generated.

The photos are 100 percent real, though. The work takes a lot of patience, precision and planning in front of the camera, he said.

"What you see is exactly what I take," he said.



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