The last documentary I’ve been given prior to if I might be able to attend Docufest this year is Tia Chuck: A Portrait of Chuck Ramirez. Now this here is a story on the life of a Latino artist named Chuck Ramirez. Known for taking abstract-looking items and turning them into artistic imagery. That wasn’t it as the man was fighting the fear of coming out as a homosexual, especially when growing up in a time where that wasn’t accepted just yet.
See, the man started his career life, working for the big corporations as a graphic designer, but he found something in items we usually don’t pay too much attention to and would forget about. Mr. Chuck would take those ordinary objects and use his special photography techniques to create profound piece of art. This helped transform his career from day job work to being a professional artist many look up to.
It wasn’t always easy for Chuck though. He would grow up, making stupid crazy decisions when drinking too much, as drunks would do. More so, he had trouble fully expressing his interests in men and that affected his health a bit. While life was rough at crucial moments, he’d still find a way to enjoy it, as you see in the trailer where he talked about being HIV positive.
The documentary comes with the interviews you expect, people from Chuck’s life talking about the good and bad, with recordings of Chuck himself being interviewed or heard, before his unfortunate passing in 2010. Where this doc goes on its own is when stories are being expressed with a first-person reenactment of those scenes in the exact locations from where it occurred years ago.
It’s a creatively made film that lovingly expresses Chuck Ramirez and what he brought to this world. Not only that, it gives a different look at how an artist lives and dies, seeing how people partied, instead of feeling miserable at his funeral. It was weird to digest, but knowing that so many people instead are focusing on the joy he brought to others than acknowledging that he’s not here anymore.
He would create new ways to express stories from any generic object like an opened box of chocolates. I really don’t want to use a pun, but he did think outside of the box when it came to creating art. Very few artists can craft a visual story on a Whataburger drink cup, and this man managed to do that and more. Kids loved how he turned their favorite items into an art piece, which showed how big of a heart this man had for everyone, not just in art, but personality as well.
I’m mentioning the part of his death, but there’s so much in this film I’m not giving away that will have an effect on you one way or another. I mean, this isn’t fiction, so you shouldn’t call that a spoiler.
I have to give it to the man for looking good in his last years, but it is sad that he’s not around today. At the end, I was moved by this documentary, seeing how this man overcame the worst of the worst in his life to enjoy what was great about it and keep committing to his passion.
Tia Chuck: A Portrait Of Chuck Ramirez is a heart-felt story of an incredible man who is not on this earth, but is still a hero to the San Antonio community to this day from every bit of positivity and enlightenment he brought. I see those who watch it receiving a new perspective on how to be a professional creative, knowing you can make incredible work out of anything. It’s also strong art education and a powerful film for Hispanic representation.
This doc is a “Must Watch” in my opinion! If there was something wrong, it would be in tiny nitpick territory and not even worth talking about. I’m serious, this is up there with “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” & “Being Frank: The Chris Sievey Story” as this year’s big documentary hits! Go watch this one!