An odd job over 40 years ago led to the career of a local muralist
SAN ANTONIO – When Jimmy Ramirez admitted that something was missing in a brand new business, he offered to help.
The owner of the western clothing store in Cotulla was in a bind and had no way of letting potential customers know what he had to sell.
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“I asked him, ‘Aren’t you going to put a sign here? Ramirez said. “He said, ‘Well, there’s no one here to paint. The only artist we’ve moved to San Antonio.
It was in 1977.
Ramirez, who had a natural talent for art, offered to step in and mount something.
He did not know at the time that he was also in the process of forging a new career.
He says he started signing his name on all of his artwork, which has led clients to him.
Today, his work is in demand by local businesses.
He’s the artist behind the airy stages you’ll find on the interior walls of some popular restaurants, including Pete’s Tako House downtown and Hacienda Vallarta Buffet and Bakery on Bandera Road.
The murals often represent a garden-like setting under a bright blue sky.
“I really don’t draw for a younger audience. I draw for the elderly, for businesses, ”he said. “I don’t use spray paint. I have never used it although I use the airbrush.
Ramirez says he prefers to do things the old-fashioned way, painstakingly hand-painting whenever possible.
The West Side native appreciates the new works of art appearing more and more on the walls of his neighborhood and across the city.
However, he says he remembers a time before this type of wall work was popular.
“Back then, we really weren’t painting on the walls,” he said. “If it wasn’t an advertisement, you really didn’t paint on it.”
Recently, he feared that his painting days were over.
Ramirez woke up to find that his van, which he calls his mobile office, had been stolen.
“I had my brushes that I carried with me, the majority of all my tools (in),” he said.
Although the police quickly recovered the vehicle, they could not find its art supplies.
Ramirez says he’s grateful to his family and friends who helped him replace most and get back to work.
With a long history behind him, he also helps secure the future.
He was the mentor of his niece, Catalina Zamarripa, who is also an artist.
Zamarripa has already been featured in “If These Walls Could Talk”.
To see his story, click here.
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