Saturday, July 2, 2011

Jay Ramirez - a meeting of the Tribes

Pothole Monster
Mention the name Jay Ramirez most places outside of his neighborhood in Chicago, the response you get probably will not refer to the frontman and founder of the mid-west electronica band, Comasoft.  It won't be the same Jay Ramirez who draws “Pothole Monsters” and writes stories that will have your sides splitting with their sarcasm and fantasy.  It most likely won’t even refer to the cube dweller who works at a marketing firm in the Windy City, owns the coolest “toes” cat and lives for the 4th of July because he LOVES fireworks.

However, Chicago Jay is all these things along with being the first direct link I've uncovered between art tribes in different states.  In fact Jay's connection is half a country away in Los Angeles.  He contacted me shortly after I’d interviewed Hans Haveron, a conversation Jay had no previous knowledge of.  He wanted to share with me, as a fan of Adam’s, that he had  learned that his friend, Hans, was linked to Lambert’s newest body art.  When I recovered from the shock of the coincidence, I told Jay we needed to talk.  And so we did.

Since it seemed to be the most logical place to start, we discussed the Haveron/Ramirez connection.  The two met about five years ago when Jay was on a business trip to L.A.  He was invited to a party where Hans was doing airbrush body art as part of the evening's entertainment.  As the night progressed the two got to talking and the friendship started almost immediately.  They stay in touch between Jay's travels to the West Coast where the two always make a point to meet up.  Hans has not visited Chicago as he does not currently have an outlet for his work there.  Jay is always on the look out for people or spaces who can offer places for Hans to display his art or do live installations.

Jay and I went on to discuss Chicago art tribes.  I first 'met' him through the "Chicago Suicide Club"  which was founded by Kevin Malone and Mat Devine.  They started the club mainly as a promotion tool for local events in and around the Wicker Park section of the city.  As the group grew, it also attracted artists themselves.  A website was added which allowed the club to grow beyond Chicago.  Today it has become more of a Facebook presence but the local members do keep up with each other and occasionally get together.  Ramirez says there are many active arts communities in the city.  Events, such as 'art walks' are common along with an aggressive music scene that covers all genres.


Along with working on new music with the latest line-up of Comasoft, Ramirez has come to the realization that his cartooning and his short stories could possibly be worked into a children's or young adult book.  He got to the point of composing an outline, similar to what we're taught in middle school English classes, with categories such as "creatures", "weird things", "stuff that doesn't fit", etc.  

The project has progressed to the point that Jay is now looking for an editor.  Besides someone who can correct his bad grammar and run-on sentences, he needs to click with them.  They need to feel his esthetic while directing the project to either a younger or older audience.  Jay's the first to admit that his sense of humor probably speaks more to the 14-18 group than the 5-12 crowd.  But he can see how the work could be edited for the latter.  

Ramirez really loves working in a 2-D world where he can mix eras, reality and fantasy to come up with things like talking snakes, stick figure aliens and angry squirrels.  One of his inspirations is Dr. Seuss.  Writing also allows for mash-ups that bring all the crazy into this world.  

 As for Jay’s music, Comasoft has just released a new record that they are very proud of.  Former guitarist Dani was replaced with the band's long-time tech Dan.  Currently they have a touring drummer but are looking for a new permanent percussionist.  With new management, Comasoft is working diligently to bring their sound to the East coast, a long time dream.  Once they get a definite booking in New York, they will start planning dates in Boston, New Haven and other cities.

Jay on Facebook
Chicago Suicide Club

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