Ana V. Ramirez first started taking photos to document her work as a floral designer. Her breakthrough happened while visiting Spain with a point-and-shoot camera. “I began to ‘see’ things differently and to take in all of the interesting things around me,” she says. Today, the Venezuela native is a professional photographer based in San Diego, California, where beaches, butterfly gardens and her own home inspire her to create images that evoke peace and tranquility. We sat down with Ana to discuss her work, her journey and what she thinks about our current art collection.
Your current work has a very specific subject focus on nature. Can you explain a little more on why and how it came about?
In today’s busy world it’s too easy to miss the beauty that surround us—the patterns and colors in nature, the details, are often overlooked as we rush through life. I have learned, though, that my to-do list is not what’s important; being here now, is.
When I take photographs I want to be fully present so I can take in everything that surrounds me. Much of my work is about slowing down so that I am in that meditative and mindful moment just looking at the flower petals, or the sky as the sun sets. This is what makes me happy and what allows me to see beautiful things to photograph. Nature is a source of peace for me and I enjoy sharing that feeling through my art.
“In Love With Dahlia” by Ana Ramirez
Have you always been a photographer or was there a “previous life”?
There have been many previous lives. I studied interior design in college, then I was a floral designer for many years, and most recently I worked in corporate marketing. When I was a floral designer I began taking pictures for my portfolio and while I worked in marketing photography was something I enjoyed as a hobby. It was my mom who saw the potential of my work and suggested I sell it on Etsy. All of my past experiences now benefit my work as a photographer.
“Out In The Field” by Ana Ramirez
When most people think of San Diego, their minds don’t immediately jump to art. Why base yourself there as opposed to NYC or LA?
San Diego has always felt like home. From the moment I visited I felt like I was supposed to be there and living there confirmed it. I’m not really a city person anyway. I’d much rather be closer to nature. The great thing about the way I create is that I can live anywhere—it just changes what I photograph. Right now I’m just outside of Denver so I have the opportunity to photograph mountains, snow and other seasonal things. But I’ll go back to San Diego soon. Like Dorothy said, there’s no place like home.
What part do you see art in helping create a “home”?
My mom loved art so I grew up surrounded by it. For me, art is one of the things that make a home—without it, a space looks unfinished and impersonal. Since art isn’t something a space needs, what we choose is a way to express something about who we are. Art is personal, it’s a connection to our past, our dreams, our passions, our interpretation of beauty. It makes that house, our home.
“Hear the Wind” by Ana Ramirez
What do you look for when selecting a piece for your own home? What resonates with you?
First I notice how it makes me feel—there has to be that “wow” moment. Sometimes it’s the subject matter I’m drawn to, and other times it’s the color or form. I want everything that surrounds me in my home to make me feel good so it has to be something that I enjoy every time I look at it. Everything in my place has a story or a special meaning.
How did you come to start working with Pottery Barn?
One of the buyers found my store on Etsy and contacted me through there. I couldn’t believe it at first! From the beginning, working with Pottery Barn has been a source of pride for me both as a photographer and as an entrepreneur.
“Into The Woods” by Ana Ramirez
What would be the one piece of advice you would give to someone trying to decide to buy a piece of art for their home?
Take your time and choose something you love—if you look at a piece and it makes you happy, if it reminds you of a special time in your life, or it makes you feel something, go with it. Forget about matching or choosing the right thing. If you love it, it’s right. And if it’s a reflection of the people who live there it matches. Let the art in your home be a source of joy and let it tell the story of who you are.
Check out Ana’s Top Art Picks For Our Current Collection
“I adore butterflies so of course I was immediately drawn to this piece. The three-dimensional aspect of it makes it so dynamic – like they could fly off the wall and into the room.”
“Keys, doors, locks, have been an ongoing theme in my work. I like this piece because old keys always make me wonder what they opened; what secrets they kept.”
“Some people don’t like abstract art but I grew up around it and I enjoy it. I was drawn to these because of the combination of simple forms and vibrant colors.”
“Art AND science? Yes, please! This tulip print is just too cool.”
“My favorite t-shirt has a similar design of a typewriter. I would hang this print in front of where I sit in my home office as a daily reminder of my purpose.”