Raised in the Southern states of Tennessee and Texas, André Ramos-Woodard (they/ them/ theirs) is a contemporary artist who uses their work to emphasize the experiences of the underrepresented: celebrating the experience of marginalized peoples while accenting the repercussions of contemporary and historical discrimination.
Working in a variety of media—including photography, text, and illustration—Ramos-Woodard creates collages that convey ideas of communal and personal identity centralized within internal conflicts. They are influenced by their direct experience with life as being queer and African American, both of which are obvious targets for discrimination. Focusing on Black liberation, queer justice, and the reality of mental health, Ramos-Woodard works to amplify repressed voices and bring power to the people. Ramos-Woodard received their BFA from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas, and is earning their MFA at The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
a mediocre-ass nigga is plain and simple a body of work about me—
It's about who I am through my own eyes.
It's about how I'm perceived because of the color of my skin.
It's about my beautifully Black, Southern, Nigerian-American family.
It's about my depression.
It's about microaggressions, and stereotypes,
and niggas getting shot for no reason.
It's about missing my grandma and my granddad.
It's about the n-word.
It's about skittles, black hoodies, toy guns, cigarettes, dollar bills, type-C hair, cell phones, dark complexions, and other various weapons.
It's about memories.
It's about Goodlettsville, Tennessee.
It's about what I see in the mirror,
and how my blackness copes with the realities of this world.
This is a personal investigation of my experience as a Black person with anxiety and depression. That simple sentence cannot convey the complexities of my experience struggling with the various hurdles that come with my lived experience. And I know I'm not the only one. I fight for our visibility.
The sooner we realize that our existence as BIPOC people in general, and Black people specifically [in these contexts], was tremendously altered by colonialism and the racial hierarchy that the white man created, the sooner we can escape the toxic ideology that brighter skin implicates an entitlement to a better life.
Release Date: April 30, 2021
WEAPON (George Zimmerman sold the gun he killed Trayvon Martin with for a quarter-million dollars), 2019
I remember the night I went to take this photograph. It was one of those times when you have an idea and you just have to make it happen, regardless of what time it is. So at about 11:30pm one night I got outta bed, got my black hoodie, and went to a gas station at like midnight to get some skittles for this photograph.
When I got to the studio to make this photograph, there were cops everywhere. The building my studio was on is a pretty small street, so I'm talkin' like 2 or 3 cop cars and that's enough to block the entire main entrance. So of course there were at least 2 or 3 cop cars on that very street, blocking that very entrance... The entrance I most commonly use to get to my studio.
Anyway, this scared the absolute shit outta me. I wasn't even doing anything wrong - just went to my studio to go make a piece about police brutality specifically against Black people, and here I am, a Black person who seems to have walked right into the very potentially fatal equation I was tryna reference. It seemed like the world was tryna fuck with me or something. Thankfully, there's one entrance on a perpendicular side that didn't have any cops around it. I took that entrance.
I couldn't get myself to make the image for about an hour. I just paced around in my studio, occasionally tryna to peek outside the windows and get a glimpse of what was going on, wondering why there were so many cops outside, half-expecting them to bang on the building doors and ask what I was doing even though I know I had the right to be there.
Release Date: December 17, 2021
This is my dad. He is one of the most inspiring, hilarious, genuine, stoic, hard-working, stubborn, lovable, and perseverant people in my entire life.
He’s a protector.
Once when I was little (prolly around 11), my parents took my siblings and I to get some ICEEs. Long story short, we made a little mess, but we were very respectful kids. We would always clean up our mess, or if it was something that required more than what was available to use at the time, we knew to get an employee.
Well, that happened. We got an employee after spilling a little (AND I MEAN A LITTLE) on the ground, who apparently very reluctantly cleaned up our mistake. We paid and left. Our dad noticed we’d been short changed, and went back inside to correct what he assumed was a common mistake. I went with him.
He was appalled to find out that the cashier had added some sort of “cleaning fee” onto our gas station slushies and refused to refund him at first. I didn’t know what was going on at the time, and I was way too young to see that a white woman thought she had the right to take money from some little Black kids for no reason other than discrimination . Now normally I’m not a fan of arguing with retail employees , but thank God my dad went off on her and got our money back.
After that, my dad and I had my first conversation about race. About being a nigga.
Shout out to my Dad.