Venezuelan Artist Now Lives in Door County, Paints Scenes

By Zac Schultz | April 16, 2018


A tromp l’oeil is a painting that creates an illusion of a three dimensional object, bringing life and depth to a flat surface.

“I’m pretty convinced from childhood the world I look at is not the same world that everybody sees.” Artist Ram Rojas doesn’t just want to fool your eyes, he wants his art to inspire you, to see the presence of the divine all around you. “Everything that you paint says something about the story. Nothing is disconnected.”

That’s true for Ram’s art and his life. “I think the way you live your life influences your artwork, there’s no question about it.”

Ram Rojas’ story begins in his home country of Venezuela, where his talent as an artist was noticed early. “I think art happened to me, I don’t think I chose it.” His mother enrolled him in art school around the time he started to question his Catholic faith. “I started to be attracted to other philosophies. I read a lot. And I started to look for answers.”

A Hindu group had a chapter in Venezuela and came to the art school. When they saw Rojas already drawing Hindu art, they asked if he wanted to come to the United States. “They told me I was going to eventually train to paint for their publications. I think that was an element of serendipity. What was the chances they will find me, and I was painting, happened to be painting a Hindu?”

At age 18, Ram Rojas came to a new country, learned a new language and converted to a new religion. “I did become a very strong believer at the time. They believed that we must live a life of devotion towards God. My meditation was painting. My devotion, my prayer. Everything was painting.”

The Hindu group sent Rojas around the world, to learn from the old masters in Italy and France. “Basically Rennaisance style art. Classical rendition of Hindu art.” His depictions of the Hindu Gods became the new standards. “For me it was 100% diving into the philosophy. I was illustrating it. And these books were distributed in every language all over the world.”

Eventually, the Hindu group splintered from within, and Rojas drifted away from Hinduism. A gallery owner in Wisconsin asked him to come and paint some iconic scenes in Door County. “Door County when I came here 27 years ago was a lot like a little village. It was very much an artist’s community.”

Rojas continued to travel but always returned to Wisconsin. “Door County is unique. It’s got a beautiful setting. Which I have lived in gorgeous settings all over the world, so that wasn’t it. It has people that are very cultured and progressive, living in a country setting. That’s probably pretty unique.”

Zac Schultz

Zac Schultz is a reporter for the “Wisconsin Life” project who thinks three-minute stories and one-line bio descriptions are woefully brief.
2018-05-09T19:12:40-05:00Tags: , , , |

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