Diego M Ramallo
Born and raised in Madrid, he left at 25 for beautiful (and frigid) Minneapolis where he's lived 25 years working as a software engineer. This world of business rules, rigid code and set schedules was good to make a living but not to feed the soul.
Seeking to shed that rational skin, Diego transformed himself into a paper mache artist, crossing to a world of shapes, forms and color.
Diego’s work received a first prize (blue ribbon) in the Creative Arts Papier-mâché category and a first prize (purple ribbon) in the Decorative Crafts category, both at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair.
Art is original expression. I spent much of my life looking for ways to express myself but struggling to find the right medium; one that felt as an extension of my own self to carry my voice. When experimenting with photography, I found beautiful results that were acceptable as expression, but they felt more like the work of the camera than my own, quite literally tricks of the light.
I don’t remember how I found papier-mâché as a material, but I remember how instantly it felt as a fit, perfectly responsive to my fingers. Papier-mâché is tremendously malleable and capable of translating my original and evolving ideas into a form. At the same time, I am always surprised seeing the end result emerge seemingly on its own, layer upon layer, representing the partnership between my mind, my hands and the materials I use, all three equally contributing to the final creation.
I enjoy the layered nature of papier-mâché, where all shapes are created from nothing that looks like the final form. The need for each layer to dry before a new one is applied is an invitation to be patient, to slow down and enjoy life as it comes. More than anything, I enjoy the organic nature of the results that produce truly unique pieces with the imperfections that mimic nature. This is the reason why I almost exclusively create live forms. This organic nature pushes me to add detail and a high degree of finish even to areas that will be out of sight. It also invites me to reuse materials to approximate zero waste in my productions.
Last, papier-mâché requires the layering of multiple coats that are quite literally caressed into place. Each piece is gently applied to reveal the final shape. Hands are used on every coat with barely the assistance of tools. The result is highly personal and intimate. When a piece is completed, I feel I have developed a relationship with it, nurturing it into existence. Along the process, I continue to explore the responsiveness of the medium and its ability to transform thoughts into shapes, serving as a form of expression. My own personal and original expression.