Central Florida artist Omar Ramo explores his mythical side with ‘A Whimsical Night Dream’

By : Jeremy Williams
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Omar Ramo didn’t just decide to become an artist, it was destined since birth. Born to creative parents, Ramo and his siblings were surrounded by a variety of artistic mediums.

“Both my parents were dancers when they met,” Ramo says. “They got married and started to make a family, and my dad became a hair cosmetologist. He worked in the theater, he played the saxophone. So there was a lot of artistic expression going on in my house and it inspired me.”

Ramo recalls being fascinated by the human form at an early age when he took art classes in school.

“I remember one of the first things they were teaching us was those stick figure shapes like you see on a bathroom sign, a straight line for a boy and the triangle for a girl, and I thought ‘this isn’t at all what boys and girls look like,’” Ramo says. “So I started exploring different ways to draw the human form. I had an uncle who did portraits and I watched what he did and was very curious about color, sketching and shadowing.”

Drawing and painting portraits also let Ramo explore something else that fascinated him, the duality in gender and how he saw himself.

“I am a big believer in the ying and the yang,” Ramo says. “I want my work to be representative of my feminine side and masculine side, and the balance of both of those aspects of me in my life.”

Ramo, who identifies as bisexual and gender fluid, says the exploration of gender in his artwork really took off when he was 23 years old.

“I had been in a relationship and then I was on my own. It was a hard transition in my life, plus at that time I was starting to really experience gay culture,” Ramo says. “I painted this image of two men holding each other tightly and it had cool colors and warm colors, that masculine and feminine again, even though it is two men. It’s those emotions and feelings that were pretty suppressed. I try to let it out little by little and it’s showing in my art pieces.”

As Ramo started to display his pieces at small art exhibits throughout Central Florida, he felt that his full vision wasn’t being recognized by just displaying his work, he wanted to tell them a story. That story became Ramo’s first art expo called “Exposed.”

“When I was deciding on how to tell the story with my work I knew I wanted it to be more than just displaying a piece, I wanted it to have movement and dance and performance art and digital art, all of these things that were a part of my art,” Ramo says. “I don’t want to take full credit, I appreciate Giovanni Rodriguez and Geologic Events who helped to bring that first show to life.”

“Exposed” premiered at 310 Lakeside in Orlando on March 21 to much success. It did just as the name suggests.

“The show was me exposing myself and exposing my work. Just being completely vulnerable and open,” he says. “I’m at that stage in my life where I can’t be hiding anymore. I have to show where I am and who I am, and ‘Exposed’ really gave me the chance to do that.”

“Exposed” gave Ramo a chance to bring his audience on his metaphorical birth as an artist.

“It told the story of my birth and growth. It was very symbolic, spiritual and astral; it was pretty trippy,” Ramo says, laughing.

If “Exposed” is Ramo’s journey through his birth, his new art show “A Whimsical Night Dream” is his journey through childhood.

“When you’re a kid it is all about dreaming and imagination and that is the story I wanted to take people through in this show,” Ramo says. “I want people to just get away from reality for a while. You walk into this dream realm where there’s so much creation, creativity, beauty and imagination.”

“A Whimsical Night Dream” incorporates art pieces surrounded by film, digital pieces and performance artists portraying different mythical creatures in Ramo’s world.

“I’m letting my inner child out for this one and my inner child loves mermaids,” he says. “There will be a mermaid in a tub, a ballerina creature, a fawn. It’s going to have this water theme throughout it as well. When I was younger, water was everything for me. I would go to the beach or submerge myself in the pool. It was so quiet and calm under the water.”

Another theme in “A Whimsical Night Dream” is duality.

“The audience sees me going in the water and into this dream state where I am being crowned as a king from this realm where mythical creatures live,” Ramo says. “But also in this realm, I do have this alter ego which is the dark side. This is the duality of good and bad.”

Ramo’s dark side is played by local drag performer Waka Shame Black.

“She is an amazing performer and will be my nemesis throughout the audience’s journey.”

Ramo not only uses his exhibits as a way to tell a story, but he also wants to use them as events to help raise funds and awareness for causes he cares about. He started with “Exposed” by donating a part of the proceeds from the night to the Central Florida Sounds of Freedom. For “A Whimsical Night Dream,” he is giving 20% to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

“I suffered with depression and I know how alone you can feel, especially if you are young,” Ramo says. “I know what helped me was being able to express myself with my creativity. It showed me I could be my own unique person who has a purpose in life. I want to help people suffering know that they are not alone, there are people out there that will listen and be there to help.”

“A Whimsical Night Dream” is on Aug. 15 from 7-11 p.m. at Bar B in Orlando. General admission is $25, VIP is $45 in advance and $30/$55 at the door. Tickets are available at Eventbrite.com, keyword: A Whimsical Night Dream. Costumes are encouraged. For more information, you can contact the artist at OmarRamoProjects@gmail.com.

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