Diego Ramirez was born in Bogota, Colombia on January 18, 1967, the fourth of five children. His artistic ability became apparent at a very early age, and he began to receive commissions for portrait work in his teens. In 1984 he drew the portrait of then first lady, Carolina Issackson de Barco, which he delivered personally to her at the presidential palace.
During his years at Cor Universitec, Diego studied graphic design. In 1989, he began a six-year internship at the studio of famed Colombian master David Manzur, a follower of the traditional techniques employed by the classical artists. During this time, Manzur helped further develop Diego’s artistic potential, enabling him to execute his work with confidence and great technique.
In his first group exhibition in 1996, Diego’s contribution to the prestigious Colombian calendar, Andigraf, was an homage to Dali: an oil painting of Christ, with his hands separated from his body but held together by a string. The string is to become a constant element in his work. This development led Colombian art critic Fausto Panesso to state that Ramirez “has managed to introduce creative concept into the work of the painter.” Imbued in the spirituality of the mannerist style, Diego subsequently created two other large format paintings of Christ. These paintings were accompanied by a new series of angel paintings – both in charcoal and oil – which further demonstrated the artist’s sensitivity in his treatment of the human figure.
In 1998 a painting based on a work by Bernini led to Diego’s discovery of what Colombian poet Mario Rivero referred to as “virtual still-lives.” It was at this time that hands and bodies were reunited, and the string became the conceptual and visual backbone of his work. Thus began the interplay between the second and third dimension in the paintings of Diego Ramirez.
In 1999 Diego’s work was exhibited at the Museum of Hispanic Art in Miami, FL. At this time he brought into his paintings such contemporary items as jeans, lightbulbs, CDs, etc. which created a dynamic tension between the modern content and classical style of his paintings. In parallel, work flowing from the use of primary colors led to the development of one of Diego’s best-known collections: the flags of Colombia and other countries.
Diego has shown in museum and gallery exhibitions since 1996 including Bogota, Miami and New York. His paintings can be found in numerous private and corporate collections worldwide.