by Gregg Chadwick
“Often these sectors of the labor force become invisible—we’re used to them attending our gardens, taking care of our kids, cleaning our homes and they almost become invisible.”
-Lizette Guerra, archivist and librarian at the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center
"Happy Hills is my body of work documenting the predominantly hispanic workforce, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to present the beautiful images of the ideal Hollywood Hills homes."
- Ramiro Gomez
Ramiro Gomez Outside the Beverly Hills Hotel During an Artistic Intervention
from a video by Jorge Rivas
The artwork of the young Los Angeles based artist Ramiro Gomez reveals the unseen hands and faces of the often underpaid and under appreciated laborers who keep the more affluent areas of the Los Angeles basin manicured and green. Using the simple materials of cardboard and paint, Gomez creates labor portraits of the hispanic workers that work behind the scenes at posh hotels and trendy restaurants. With a utility blade, Gomez cuts out these almost Hockney like figures and then places them in public settings where his artistic subjects work. These artistic interventions are witty, respectful, and deeply provocative.
11"x8.5" acrylic on LUXE interiors magazine
Ramiro Gomez also creates smaller works on paper that utilize pages from lifestyle magazines. These small scale interventions include figures of laborers that Gomez documents in acrylic paint. If you are in the Los Angeles area and driving through Beverly Hills, take note of the workers who often remain unnoticed. Ramiro Gomez' artwork is a powerful reminder to remain attentive.
Ramiro GomezSocorro folds the laundry
Jorge Rivas in ColorLines notes that:
"A recent UCLA study found nearly 75% of child care workers and 35% of maids and housekeepers in Los Angeles County were paid at an hourly rate lower than the minimum wage. Many home health care workers (97%) and child care workers, maids, and housekeepers (87%) also reported being required to work when they were not on the clock - that is, they did not get paid for all of the work they did, according to a Research & Policy Brief from the UCLA Institute for Research on Labor and Employment."