DATE FARMERS - COACHELLA, CALIFORNIA
Armando Lerma and Carlos Ramirez, artistically know as The Date Farmers, grew up in Indio, California. Lerma’s father owned a date farm where Ramirez once worked as a picker. Their works are layered reflections of a polymorphous identity; foreign yet familiar perspectives existing in a liminal reality between cultures, collecting ephemera and detritus, and combining it into playful assemblage pieces. Their work often speaks of the inequalities within Mexican American communities and champions the common man as underdog.
Working both collaboratively and separately they are tremendously resourceful, scavenging for creative materials within various abandoned desert locales. The work is replete with layers and textures intertwined with the political while being disguised as popular. Works include a combination of house paint, sparkly stickers, bilingual text, corrugated metal siding, and wheatpaste posters with deeply engraved crosshatched drawings. Snakes, spiders, scorpions, and other bits of nature from their hometown appear mixed in with Catholic symbolism and commercial imagery, giving brand logos and religious icons the same attention to detail. The Date Farmers make Chicano pop art; they are desert Rauschenbergs, infusing abstract expressionism with a politically charged, pop-culture update.