Who is Pietro Ramirez?

Archie McPhee, seller of ‘boxing Nun puppets, hip swinging hula dolls, fuzzy dice and similar items, sells paintings by an artist named ‘Pietro Ramirez’ for $99 dollars each.

At right you see a reproduction of his ‘Believe’ painting.

The paintings are not (usually) unique; Ramirez has a limited number of subjects that he paints again and again and again.

From the McPhee site: In his tireless pursuit of perfection, Pietro Ramirez would paint each painting hundreds, sometimes thousands of times. Limited quantities of these numbered original oil paintings are only available through Archie McPhee. Each painting is set in a 25” x 19” frame, signed and numbered by the artist, and is sure to be a great conversation piece for any room in your home or office.

Other works include The Albino Bowler, a Tiki scene, a Unicorn Dreams painting and others. There are also references to a book on ‘The Art of Kissing’ but I am not certain if the author and artist are the same person.

I am not sure what to make of the whole thing — while the ‘chuckling behind our hands’ of the McPhee approach to marketing is a fun in a superficial sort of way, I find myself wondering who Ramirez is (or is he just a fake name to be applied to the phenomenon of ‘crappy lowbrow paintings’) and why he paints the same thing again and again. $99.00 does not seem to be a lot of money for a painting (and, by artist economies, it makes me suspect that Ramirez would be getting at most $50.00 gross (before paying for paint, canvas, the frame, etc.) for each painting.

A very superficial probe of google yields numerous references to ‘Pietro Ramirez’ and his paintings (“Albino Bowler” seems to be a favorite) as well as ‘The Art of Kissing’ book, but I don’t know what part of this is a big joke and kitsch marketed for the masses and whether or not Ramirez really exists.

5 Comments on “Who is Pietro Ramirez?”

  1. I dunno, there is a certain charm there. I used to have lots of velvet paintings, coconut monkeys, tiki cups, old framed photos of people I don't know and Christmas lights as my decor. Yeah, and then I got married. These paintings would have fit right in with the velvet paintings. Particularly the Unicorn Dream one. Man, I miss the velvet painting of Jesus holding the world in his palm with a unicorn jumping over the world with a rainbow coming out of it. HHHhhhmmmm, this gives me some ideas for a series of paintings ;).

  2. Scott says:

    There was an old crappy Magic card called “Ramirez di Pietro” in a set mostly based on someone's D&D campaign. Isn't Archie McPhee in Seattle? Maybe it's an ex-WotC employee taking the piss.

  3. Telecanter says:

    That Albino Bowler is crazy. I may become an artist just to paint that over and over attempting to reach perfection.

  4. Yeah, the albino bowler is pretty cool.

  5. limpey says:

    -C: Thanks (I think). After reading that, I'm more confused then when I started!

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