Brooms at HEB South Flores Market #ChuckRamirez
Chuck Ramirez Broom Series on display at H-E-B South Flores Market

This past December H-E-B opened the South Flores Market and we were thrilled when artworks from Chuck’s 2007 Broom Series were selected for display in their new location. Dya Campos, Director of Public Affairs at H-E-B stated: “We knew we wanted to work with an artist for the opening, but we didn’t know who, and then the Walleys called to talk to us about Chuck’s work here and we knew immediately it would be a perfect fit for the South Flores Market.” We’re so proud that our meeting with Dya last year set the wheels in motion for this very important acquisition. Many thanks to H-E-B and Ruiz-Healy Art for making this possible. It’s was very exciting to see our work on this documentary have such a positive outcome! Read more at The Rivard Report.

Charles and Mary Lily Ramirez at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum
Special Reception & Art Preview with Charles and Mary Lily Ramirez at Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum

Before the artworks were installed at H-E-B, Blue Star Contemporary Art Museum hosted a Special Reception & Art Preview of the four selected Broom Series artworks. The event was well attended by the local arts community, H-E-B partners, and Chuck’s family. When we documented the reception I realized it was the first time we had filmed Chuck’s father with his son’s artwork. It was a really beautiful moment to capture as Charles became enveloped by Chuck’s large scale work.

Behind the Scenes film at Whataburger
Behind the scenes filming at Whataburger

I had contacted Whataburger in November of last year to request permission to film a scene for our documentary in one of their restaurants. We knew we wanted to create a scene where the audience is introduced to a Whataburger cup to read, “When I’m Empty Please Dispose of Me Properly”, in the way Chuck may have when he was inspired to create his work Whatacup for his 2002 artist-in-residence exhibition at Artpace San Antonio. The Whataburger PR team and the employees at the West Cypress location were so helpful with our requests and we were able successfully shoot in January.

Photographs and Cassette Courtesy Jeff Adams
Photographs and Cassette Tape Courtesy Jeff Adams

Every update I share some of our great archive finds and this cassette tape is such a gem! Jeff Adams, Chuck’s close friend from high school, has been so helpful in digging up photographs, yearbooks, and other material to include in this film and he recently found this cassette tape. On the tape you can hear the teenage voice of Chuck with Jeff as they laugh and joke around. It’s the earliest recording we have of Chuck and it’s so great to be able to include Chuck’s voice in our scene following his teenage years.

Chuck Ramirez Courtesy of Mark Greenberg
Chuck Ramirez at Sala Diaz Courtesy of Mark Greenberg

Along with photographs from Jeff and Mark Greenberg (above), we’ve also been in touch with many of Chuck’s friends who have provided us with photos spanning from his early college days up until the weeks before his bike accident. Thank you to everyone who has left photos for us on their porches, mailed us photos, emailed us dropbox folders, and even driven over to our house to drop off photos! We really appreciate everyone’s time digging through old drawers and closets to discover rare and important images.

Interview with Fitness Trainer Tom Trevino
Film Still, an interview with Tom Trevino, MBS Fitness Trainer

I’d been interested in interviewing Tom Trevino since he shared this Chucktacular Tribute on The Rivard Report. Tom had been Chuck’s personal trainer, who helped Chuck get back in shape after his open heart surgery in 2008. If you read the article above, you’ll get a good idea of the stories Tom shared with us last month. We had a similarly significant interview with Steven Kluck, who was an eye witness to Chuck’s bike accident. Steven was very open about his experience and helped us analyze the events that took placed that night based on the eye witness statements and reports. We also conducted follow up interviews with Chuck’s sister Patricia and contemporary art community leader, Mike Casey. Both Mike and Patricia had so much great material in their first interviews, but now that we have the script in place, we wanted to fill in a few gaps.

Chuck Ramirez Courtesy of Nate Cassie
Chuck Ramirez Courtesy of Nate Cassie

All of this work is worth it when we see photographs like the one above. We remember how much joy Chuck brought into the lives of so many of our friends and how important it is to share his story with those who didn’t have the chance to experience that joy first hand.

Thank you, as always, for your patience and support. We’ll keep you updated as we keep moving forward!

Director, Tia Chuck