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Watch: Artist Ramiro Gomez Paints the Unseen Domestic Laborers Who Maintain L.A.'s Luxury


Having worked as a live-in nanny for a Beverly Hills family, the young artist is acutely aware of how domestic workers are treated.


"As a gay Latino man living with hemophilia, I am a part of multiple communities at once," artist Ramiro Gomez tells Out. "As Audre Lorde stated, 'There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.' There are many things that we won't be able to change on our own, we must continue to work with other communities to highlight the intersectionality of our struggles. Therefore, I see myself building bridges between them. Change doesn't happen overnight, but I feel my artwork is contributing in some small way to the ongoing bigger challenges we face as humans. I will simply continue to focus on painting what I know."

In a video for The Atlantic's "American Dreams" series produced by Kelly Loudenberg, he explains: "It's my interest to showcase the other side of things, the more real side that I see, which is the people maintaining those mansions. I hope that these paintings showcase that their labor meant something to me and it meant something to society."

As Out100 honoree explained to Out when asked why this year was special, he explained:

"In a year when my artwork was featured in the New York Times Magazine, as well as being selected for this Out100 issue, it would be easy to select them as highlights.They certainly were high points that I am grateful for, made all the more remarkable because of the positive reactions from people worldwide who connect with the way I am delivering my artistic message. Personally, May 15 stood out this year as the day when I was able to exchange vows in a intimate, private civil wedding ceremony with my partner of nine years, David Feldman. That is what made this year truly special for me. Surrounded by love, seeing the smile on my parents faces, the pride in my husbands voice, the supportive family and friends that have always been there for me, encouraging me to pursue my artistic dreams. There have been some challenging moments in my life that make this year rewarding. Wherever this creative journey continues to take me, 2015 will stand out for me as a year where I had most of the things I ever wanted."

So what most inspires him?

"One of my favorite things to do is take walks around my West Hollywood neighborhood. Most of my artwork comes directly from these walks, as I will regularly and unexpectedly come across scenes much like those I create. I will see a gardener with a leaf blower in front of the iconic pink Paul Smith store on Melrose Avenue and feel inspired to paint it. Wherever I go, it is the people working to maintain the beautiful homes, restaurants, stores, hotels, schools, and offices that I most connect to, as they remind me of my own family, who work in similar jobs.

"I like to go to West Hollywood park to put myself at ease. Having the library there lets me search for art books, providing a tranquil space to read. Then the park itself is the perfect place to grab my soccer cleats and ball to kick around in the evenings. When I worked as a full time nanny, I would bring the children to this park so I have many beautiful memories built up here with them. I never imagined back then that all of this was in my future. Now that I have a mural here, it is my favorite place to come and reflect on that experience."

Watch the video produced by Vimeo below:

Portraits of the Unseen Domestic Laborers Behind L.A.'s Mansions from The Atlantic on Vimeo.

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