Chuck Ramirez by Jannette Morales
Chuck Ramirez
April 28, 1962 – November 6, 2010
Photo Credit: Jannette Morales

Tia Chuck: A Portrait of Chuck Ramirez (Working Title) is a documentary film following the life and work of the late artist Chuck Ramirez (1962-2010). A native San Antonian, Ramirez had a successful career in graphic design and advertising before he came unto his own as a conceptual artist in his early thirties. In the mid 90’s Ramirez’s work was part of a growing contemporary Latino art movement as well as a larger community of artists and exhibition spaces focused on creating and exhibiting contemporary art in San Antonio. Primarily employing large-scale photography, Ramirez’s pieces investigate the rituals and forms of everyday life. Piñatas, purses, trash bags, candy trays, brooms, a Whataburger cup – Chuck Ramirez’s work recontextualizes objects from the banal to the extraordinary. Working with materials and images that are part of his daily life as an HIV-positive, gay man, Ramirez transformed the language and power of advertising into a call for action,  compassion, and self-actualization. Chuck was a central and larger-than-life figure in San Antonio’s art community, playing the role of artist, consummate host, and advocate for contemporary art.

Chuck Ramirez "Whatacup" on Artsy

Chuck Ramirez
Whatacup, 2002/2014
Courtesy of Ruiz-Healy Art

Film Synopsis

On November 6, 2010 Chuck Ramirez died after falling off his bike less than a block from his home in Southtown. It was then that filmmakers Angela and Mark Walley began documenting a community deeply affected by the untimely loss of an artist who many felt was the heart of the art community. Tía Chuck will utilize footage captured in the days following the artist’s death, interviews conducted with Ramirez before his passing, archive footage and photographs, and newly shot footage to illustrate stories told by those closest to him. With the support of Ruiz-Healy Art, the gallerist and exclusive representative for the estate of Chuck Ramirez, Tía Chuck will have access to the artist’s work and personal archive. This documentary film will ensure that his legacy lives on – bringing his remarkable life and work to new audiences.

Project Timeline

We started documenting the community’s reaction to the loss of Chuck at the end of 2010. We documented several events including an impromptu exhibition We Miss You Chuck at Sala Diaz and the Memorial Service held in his honor at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum. We took time off the project and began grant writing at the end of 2012. With the support of The Idea Fund, The Artist Foundation of San Antonio, and individual donations we began pre-production in early 2014. In October 2014 we received additional funding through a fundraiser on Hatchfund.org and since then have been in production on this film. Our estimated completion date is late Fall, 2017. Read our Production Notes for updates and news on our progress.