Carolina Livn'

Mexican Artist Diversifying The Streets of Charlotte: Dead Folks [INTERVIEW]

Mural by Valentine Ramirez-Cardiel
Picture of Mirna Caballero
Mirna Caballero
Best of The Carolinas

| January 18, 2023

January 18, 2023


There is a new mural in Charlotte, and I had the pleasure of meeting the artist Dead Folks at my favorite Mexican restaurant, Maria’s! The mural is at 5234 South Blvd. Charlotte, NC and is a must-see in person!

Maria's Mexican Restaurant
Maria & Valentine Ramirez-Cardiel

Charlotte native Valentine Ramirez-Cardiel is on a mission to spread his vibrant art. He explains the inspiration behind the captivating mural: “The inspiration came from realizing that the city of Charlotte doesn’t have many diverse murals. The mural represents The Day of The Dead Mexican culture but also adding my brand design. I want the public to feel connected and interact with our beautiful culture.”

Photo courtesy of @dead_folks

The mural represents the Mexican Holiday celebrated on November 1, 2 – Día de Los Muertos, which means “the day of the dead.” A celebration of life where families celebrate by welcoming back the souls of their deceased relatives for a reunion that includes food and drinks.

I am honored to share with you the interview I had with Valentine, in which we discussed his background and future projects:

Photo courtesy of @dead_folks

Can you tell us about your background and what inspired you to become an artist?
Since I was a kid, I always knew I wanted to become an artist. Growing up as a Latino artist, it was a very controversial career due to the hard labor work my whole family did. But my passion for creativity wasn’t leaving any time soon. I practiced my skill every day, knowing that one day I would become a great artist. By the time I reached 12th grade, I was winning every competition, from festivals to county school districts and eventually national. Seeing my potential was enough to inspire me to become the next biggest artist and make a change to support more Latino artist. I decided not to take the college route because I knew if I wanted to make a change, it won’t be in college; it had to be out here in the real world.

Photo courtesy of @dead_folks

How has your Mexican heritage shaped you as an artist?
Mexican heritage always fascinated me, from the colors to the food and culture. Growing up around this culture really resembles the connection between family. But for some reason, my family never celebrated The Day of The dead. But knowing that it was part of our tradition I loved every bit of it. It really touched every bit of it, from the beautiful flowers, colors, and celebrations. It was the equivalent to renaissance paintings.

Photo courtesy of @dead_folks

What advantages or setbacks have you encountered as an artist living in Charlotte?
Some of the great things Charlotte has included is the support of artwork around the city. Giving opportunities to many artists locally and nationally. Opening doors for new ways to connect with the public and be more interactive. As much of the great things Charlotte has done for us artists. Trying to strive as a Latino artist has been a bit more difficult due to the lack of Latino artist contributions. Most Latino artists are brushed off by she/he parents due the lack of support. Making Latino artists seem like it is just a side thing instead of taking it like a career. It may be hard at first, but not impossible, to convince Latinos that it’s ok for their children to take a creative career in hopes of impacting Charlotte with a diversity of cultural artwork.

Photo courtesy of @dead_folks

Who are the artists that inspire you?
The artists who inspire me to become as great as them are Salvador Dali, Takashi Murakami and Kaws. Their success in the art industry has inspired me to one day become as great as them.

Photo courtesy of @dead_folks

Final question, would you like to share any exciting plans for the future?
Some exciting plans for the future are the murals that I will be doing all around Charlotte. I’m planning to make as many as I can for people to take a picture and interact with them. Another great exciting thing to look out for in the future is to keep an eye out for some “floating flower ballon’s,” that’s all I can say.

Follow Valentine Ramirez-Cardiel on Instagram @dead_folks

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