AP Art of the Week

Spotlight on Artist Damin Escudero Ramirez

The Elective’s digital art museum this week features a sculpture made by Damin Escudero Ramirez from Marshfield Senior High School in Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Welcome to The Elective’s digital art museum, dedicated to the incredible work of AP Arts students. Each week we highlight a work or series created in one of the AP Arts concentrationsAP 2-D Art and Design, 3-D Art and Design, and AP Drawing (the AP Program also offers Art History and Music Theory)—as well as a statement from the artist (and, occasionally, their teacher).

From the first cave paintings to contemporary breakthroughs in virtually reality, art, in all its forms, has been a crucial way for people to process, make sense of, comment on, and grapple with the world around them. After more than a year of life in a pandemic, AP Art students have risen to the challenge of processing and making sense of the challenges—and opportunities—that have come from this perilous time. The work they submitted in their final portfolios is explicitly of the moment. It’s often challenging and provocative, but always insightful, inspiring, and expansive.

This week we feature a sculpture made by Damin Escudero Ramirez from Marshfield Senior High School in Marshfield, Wisconsin.

Sculpture of a green creature crawling with a container on its back

Here’s Damin’s statement on the work:

"I’ve always found interest in dark, sinister art as well as ceremonial indigenous art from various cultures around the world. In my investigation for AP 3-D Art and Design, I wanted to further explore religiously significant artifacts and incorporate them into my art. I studied Aztec, Mayan, Dogon, and Moche art, along with paintings from a Polish painter, Zdzisław Beksiński.

"Although I include aspects from all of the listed sources in my art, one of the greatest sources of inspiration comes from my ethnic background. My whole family is from Mexico, specifically Xalapa, Veracruz, so growing up I was always surrounded by traditional Mexican art. Recently, I have also discovered art from the Remojadas culture, which is a culture specific to Veracruz. The Remojadas’ art style will definitely be incorporated in my future sculptures.

"While my work isn’t specifically tied to any religious ceremonies, I took influence from the previously stated sources in order to intrigue the viewer and leave them imagining what types of ceremonies my sculptures would’ve been a part of. With my work in general, I’m highly concerned with formal aspects and the viewer's response.

"I always try to create something that doesn’t have a specific story behind it but looks like it was a part of something significant. In addition to this, I prefer to lean towards a more sinister and unsettling aesthetic because not only am I more interested in that style, but I also want to further spark some wonder and creativity within anyone looking at one of my sculptures.

"When I look at my art style, I can definitely see a reflection of my personality. It’s very nonchalant and some imperfections are visible. It looks homemade, yet significant and, therefore, comfortably powerful. The uneven surfaces and colors don't detract from my sculptures as a whole, but instead, they add to the implied history behind them. That's why traditional art attracts me. It’s handmade and doesn’t shy away from it. It’s Lumpy instead of smooth, yet it is still very detailed and interesting."

And here are a few other works from Damin’s portfolio:

Brown figure with an open mouth and wide eyes

Sculpture of a god on an elevated platform inspired by Mayan and Aztec works.

Sculpture of a seated green creature with yellow face and red eyes

Incense burner/candle holder inspired by Aztec and Sub-Saharan Africa sculptures.

Sculpture of a yellowish creature with a long neck and red stripes in a bowl shape on long legs

Incense cone burner made by sculpting, stretching, and carving.

White hunched figure with open eyes and mouth

Sculpture of man sitting made by carving. Functions as a ceremonial candle holder.

Student and teacher statements are lightly edited for length and clarity.