With Masks, sometimes there is a method and a meaning, as in Viramontes’ largest play, “Masks & Society”, which examines insecurity, identity and social definition. A face appears next to words like “help” and “fake”. Sentences were crossed out and scribbled, an anxious mind always redefining itself according to the social norms of its environment. What are we if not the social constructions that shape us? Can personal identity be real if outside forces are manifested in what we believe to be ourselves? Fear of being ostracized. Fear of being different, “FEAR GOD, FEAR FEAR, FEAR ME,” as the bold white-on-black acrylic puts it.
Other times, it is simply what comes to him, amalgamations of events, conscious and unconscious, that have come to define Viramontes. Born and raised in a Catholic family in Anaheim, Calif., He says the idea of ââthe devil often pops up in his work, even though he’s not religious himself. His piece “Diablo” represents as such.
âI don’t know what it is,â says Viramontes. âMost of the paintings that I do, I work very late at night, and that’s kind of what comes to mind at that point. I do not know. I tried to understand why. Like, is it something in me that I channel into painting? Some thoughts or ideas that I didn’t even know.
Viramontes and his brother have always craved creativity, and even though their parents didn’t have any, they still supported their children’s efforts – his father even helped create a setting for the Viramontes centerpiece. He took his interest in art at Chapman University where he studied graphic design. This led him to an internship at DC Shoes and opened his world to skate culture, which he says now finds its place in his art.