Featured Artist: BFA student Ryan Ramos


Ryan standing next to his favorite piece “Escalation.” Photo credit: Hana Beaty

The BS-O Gallery at Chico State is a space for art students to celebrate, showcase and most importantly, share their stories through their artwork created by the end of their fine arts education. This week’s featured artist, BFA student Ryan Ramos, strikes a deep chord within the LGBTQ+ community and the art community as a whole through his culmination of drawings in an exhibition titled: “Bare.”

B-SO Space Gallery
The B-SO Space is one of the most popular gallery spaces on Chico State campus where students could showcase their art. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

Ramos grew up in the conservative town of Corning, where he lived in a traditional family setting. It wasn’t until he started his education at Chico State that he was finally allowed to fully embrace the intersections of his Latino and queer identities by using his creative ventures as an outlet.

“A lot of (the exhibition) is about queer identity,” Ramos said. “You don’t see a lot of it — especially in rural areas. It took a lot of encouragement from faculty and students here for me to find the courage.”

During Ramos’ process of creating the pieces that would eventually complete his BFA exhibition, his peers were especially supportive of his homoerotic pieces. According to Ramos, this type of validation gave him the courage to pursue the overall theme of artwork.

A main theme in Ramos’ collection of drawings was to disrupt the conventional expectations of masculinity and sexuality. His art highlighted “queer desire” with floral patterns and bare skin in efforts to challenge patriarchal attitudes.

As a viewer; would you ever know that Ryan colored all his drawings with color pencil? The craftsmanship with color pencils makes his work seem very paint like. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

“With this series…there’s no denying what these drawings are about,” Ramos said.

Creating this amount of art was no easy task, as each piece took Ramos around a week to complete. Many of his work sessions consisted of early mornings and constantly reevaluating what worked and what he could improve upon for the next piece.

Some of Ramos’ drawings feature people and faces, each one striking in its individual way. Most of the characters are people that he knows in real life or personalities from the internet.

Ryan gets his inspiration from his friends online and wants to share the message that it is not just women can show their sexuality through art but men as well. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

“My first big inspiration was Frida Kalo,” Ramos said. “She was really big on her identity and Mexican heritage. Her sexual identity was something that shocked people, but she was always so bluntly honest and that was something that I admired.”

art on wall
Ryan's series of work is very pleasing and unique to look at. The frames he used are very unique from one another, but very beautiful to look at and is not a distraction to his artwork. Photo credit: Hana Beaty

“As I learned more about art and the queer movement from mostly the 60s onward, I came to admire artists like Paul Cadmus, who was also blunt about his sexuality and caused a lot of controversy.”

After graduating from Chico State, Ramos plans to eventually go to graduate school and pursue his dream of becoming a professional studio artist.

To support and learn more about BFA students, visit the BF-O Gallery in Ayres Hall, Room 105.

Rayanne Painter can be reached at @rayphenomenon on Twitter and [email protected]