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VIDEO: Downtown Las Vegas residency gives artist room for her art

Posted at 8:09 PM, Sep 13, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-13 23:48:44-04

At the beginning of October, Krystal Ramirez will take the next step in her career as she becomes the artist in residence at Juhl.

Ramirez is the second artist in residence at the downtown Las Vegas condominium community.

"It feels pretty amazing to be selected the new artist in residence, especially because I know there were over 30 applicants," she said.

The Juhl Artist in Residency initiative invites working Nevada artists to apply for the program that provides the artist selected the opportunity to live and work rent-free at Juhl for a residency of up to six months. The residency includes a two-level live/work space at Juhl with a ground-level studio space of approximately 1,000 square feet and approximately 1,000 square feet of living space on the second floor.

For Ramirez, the extra space will give her more flexibility with her art.

"I definitely want to start playing with size. I think I'm always, with my work in the past, I've been in smaller spaces," she said. "I recently did a piece that was 11 feet by 11 feet. That's the biggest piece I've ever done and it was quite difficult because it definitely did not fit in my studio."

Her 11-feet by 11-feet piece called "I Want To See" has been shown at the Clark County Government Center. While she used textiles in this piece, her artwork varies with different mediums used, including photography, the focus of her fine arts degree from UNLV in 2009.

Ramirez said having a set studio will be welcome after having to use a room in a house or elsewhere that wasn't necessarily designated as studio space.

"I can work on multiple projects at once. So if I'm not feeling one thing, I can kinda move on to the next," she said. "I think ideally that's what you want as an artist is to be able to work on five different things and play around with different sizes, be able to do research and just all those things I didn't get to do at home because of space and distractions."

Ramirez has also had her work showcased at "Tilting the Basin" at the Nevada Museum of Art, first in Reno and then in Las Vegas.

During the 2016 opening of "Tilting the Basin" in Reno was when Juhl owner Uri Vaknin first came up with the idea of an artist in residency program at the condominium community after he met artist Justin Favela.

"At the opening, we were talking and I was like 'this is incredible work, where's your studio, I'd love to do a studio visit.' He goes, 'I actually don't have a studio.' At that moment, it triggered," Vaknin said. "I have a building. I have some great live-work spaces and one of the things we like to say about Juhl is 'creativity lives here.'"

Favela then became the first artist in residence and Vaknin noticed the growth of Favela's artwork.

"Justin moved into the studio and one of the things he was able to do while he was in the studio is really take his work to the next level," Vaknin said.

That's the hope for the next artist in residence, is someone with the same sort of potential. Ramirez was selected by a jury of four, including Vaknin, Favela, Michelle Quinn and Katie O'Neill.

"Krystal really represented what we felt we were trying to achieve with this artist in residency program, which was to select a great artist, an artist who is going to engage with the community, who's going to be focused on downtown Las Vegas, but you know also this artist in residency program would help them get to the next level of their career," Vaknin said.

Ramirez thinks having the studio space and also being downtown, not far from the Arts District, will also help her creative process.

"So you get repeat visits from artists, you bounce ideas off each other. When your studio's in your home, you can have friends over at your house, but they're not going there specifically to look at your work," she said. "... It's a different mindset."

Krystal Ramirez gave 13 Action News permission to use the images of her artwork in the above video.