Imitating Life: Posing questions to local artist Ricky Romero

“Skull,” graphite on paper

“Skull,” graphite on paper

Cory Bilicko
Managing Editor

Twenty-two-year-old Richard “Ricky” Romero says making art helps him find balance in life, especially since competitive boxing can be pretty stressful. Considering he got involved in the sport, which requires constant maintenance of one’s weight and frequent training, at the age of 10 and began his art-making shortly thereafter, it appears he’s known for at least half of his life about the therapeutic value of being an artist.
However, until next month, when a new drawing of his is featured in the show I’m curating, he will have not shown his work in a public setting before. Until now, his work has remained largely shrouded within the pages of his numerous sketchbooks.
Born at Beverly Hospital on July 21, 1992, Romero currently works in recreation but hopes to soon study graphic design or another subject related to art.
“When I did go to school, I took two art classes but pretty much learned on my own,” he said. “I have been making art off and on my whole life but, once I graduated from high school, I was just home with no job and no school. So I picked up a paper and pencil, and that’s when my journey in art unraveled.”
As for where he creates his art, it could be anywhere. “I usually just carry my backpack around so that, when I feel the need to draw, I can just take out what I need,” he said. “Other than that, I’m usually at home in my room or at my mom’s listening to music and drawing.”

The artist with his grandfather, Andy Federico

The artist with his grandfather,
Andy Federico

When did you start making art? What kind of art was it?

I started when I was about 10 or 11, I believe. I took a class with my mom but didn’t really pay attention. It was watercolors, but I didn’t have the essentials of drawing.

Why do you make art?
It’s just something that runs in my blood. My grandpa, my mom and my uncle are all great artists, and I wanted to be a part of it and see how far I could take it. But, for the most part, I do it because it’s relaxing for me and helps me drift away into my world and when I’m doing it, I have no worries because I know it will always be there.

If, for some reason, you could no longer create art, what would you do?
Probably learn another thing I’m fascinated with, which is music.

“Japanese Mask,” graphite on paper

“Japanese Mask,” graphite on paper

Is there anything that blocks you as an artist?

Usually the only the that blocks me is being tired or boxing sometimes or when I get artist’s block and I don’t know what to do.

Do you have a favorite piece of art you’ve created?
None I can say in particular, but I keep my art to see how far I have come.

“Nature’s Beauty,” Prismacolor markers on paper

“Nature’s Beauty,” Prismacolor markers on paper

Do you have a favorite piece of art that someone else has made?

I’m really fascinated by street art. It amazes me to see their creativity.

What is your favorite subject matter to include in your art?
I love to draw roses a lot, or eyes, for some reason. I get stuck just practicing them when I have already created so many.

What are your feelings about participating in the art show I’m curating?
I’m super excited because this will be my first art show, and I’m just really excited to see how everyone interprets the image they have chosen.

Romero will be among the 30 artists featured in the Relative Aperture exhibit that will open at Greenly Art Space in Signal Hill on Saturday, Sept. 6.

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