Interview by Julia Aguillon
Article by Jackie Velez
Business partners and sisters Manola Ramirez and Maria Ramirez are trail-blazing artists in the business of printmaking. Their mission is to share their art and teach what they’ve learned to others.
Manola and Maria’s printing business is located at the Lavaca Studios at 1103b S. Presa in San Antonio, Texas. The Ramirez sisters began their business around 2018. Printing is not the only medium they work with; the Ramirez sisters also work with screen print and acrylic and oil paint.
“We like to work with all types of mediums,” said Manola Ramirez. “We don’t like to stay stuck in one little box because then I feel like you don’t get to be as creative.”
Maria Ramirez was the first one to begin her art journey. She started by taking classes at San Antonio College (SAC). One of the classes that she took was in life drawing.
“I was so intimidated when they let us know there was going to be naked people,”said Maria Ramirez. “I was like, oh, gosh!”
Maria Ramirez then talked her sister, Manola, into joining her at SAC.
“Ever since then, it’s been the both of us doing art,” said Maria Ramirez.
Maria Ramirez was part of Say Si in high school, so it was natural for Manola Ramirez to believe that her sister would be the only artist in the family.
“I just thought, oh, you know, art’s gonna be for Maria, she’s always been and done that,” said Manola Ramirez. “But when I took that class with her, I had so much fun,” said Manola Ramirez.
Manola Ramirez was even encouraged by her professors to take more art classes because they saw that she had a gift for creating art. Since then, both ladies have continued to work in art.
The Ramirez sisters constantly inspire each other. When either of them struggle, they rely on one another to give feedback and even finish each other’s projects.
“I’ll get genuinely frustrated with a design because I’ll stay really stuck and I’m like, take care of this because I’ve reached my limit,” said Maria Ramirez. “She picks up very easily where I left off, and I’m like, oh, thank God.”
Manola and Maria Ramirez’s art continues to evolve and they credit their professors at SAC as the reason for their growth in art because they encouraged the Ramirez sisters with big projects.
“If anything, I think it went back and forth where you want to create something big, but you gotta reel things back in,” said Manola Ramirez. “It’s that process of learning your craft well and then executing it so that others can enjoy it.”
The Ramirez sisters recently worked with the San Antonio Mural Initiative and were guided through the mural-making process.
“We were able to dip our toes, and they were really such a pleasure to work with,” said Maria Ramirez. “I would just love to have more work like that.”
Manola Ramirez dreams of someday curating exhibits for female artists.
“I just love the idea of having a space for female artists to show their work,” said Manola Ramirez.
Luckily the Ramirez sisters have the space for that type of event.
“I think, in the coming months, maybe the coming year, we can provide that space and work with artists from here,” said Manola Ramirez.
The Ramirez sisters established the mission to be a resource for the community.
“Coming from U.T., you have the resources, beautiful, awesome resources, but then, coming back to San Antonio, well, you’re like, wait, where’s that support system, where’s the resources that I’m used to,” said Maria Ramirez.
Manola and Maria gain a lot of attention at the markets. When people from small businesses express interest in learning how to screen print or web print, the Ramirez sisters offer to teach them. It’s a service that both women want to continue to provide. Maria and Manola Ramirez also offer some parting advice for fellow artists and anyone working on projects.
“Once you see that you’re getting frustrated with a project or even with yourself, step away,” said Maria Ramirez. “Clean your space, walk away, go do something mindless; something that’s completely opposite of what you’re doing, come back refreshed and hit it again.”
Manola says the same thing for business owners who may often hit a point of struggle.
“If you can get past that and keep being persistent, it’s key,” said Manola Ramirez. “If it’s what you want, keep at it.”
For more information on Manola and Maria, please visit this website: https://www.manolaandmaria.com/ and Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/manola_and_maria/ or https://www.instagram.com/lavacastudios/