I followed the photos of this fascinating artist lady on Instagram or Facebook for quite a while and always I thought those pictures are just damn cool, also very weird and often like from another world. The actress and creator of these scenarios with super stylish portraits is Dulce Ramirez. She currently lives in Heilbronn in Germany, but is actually from Mexico City. When she left her country about ten years ago, she did not only bring the cultural memory of the “Dia de los Muertos”, that means the “Day of the Dead”, but she also incorporated this theme into her art projects out of missing her home and from these first sparks of artistic development she designed a complete fashion queen of another kind. Namely herself: Mujer Gato. She’s weird, dark, interesting, different.
Dulce started out as a graphic designer in Mexico City. At first she studied at the university, after that some jobs at different companies followed. During that time she already started doing model jobs and photo shootings, but around then it was still simply like an average model doing and more like a little hobby. The next important step was the move to Germany, where her artistic development also took a different direction. The own photographing was further developed, but also the own standing in front of the camera. The photo sessions became more creative, more shootings at unusual locations have been filmed or photographed and the outfits changed enormously. Over the years the super freaky styling and different clothing presentations have become more and more famous. It´s not only Mujer Gato, a whole group of artists is working together and the results are getting cult character. In the meantime international projects have been as well on the agenda, for example a video shoot with the producer Martin Iglesias from Argentina.
I saw some photos of Mujer Gato and I just had immediately to think about the Mad Max movies. Some other pictures show glimpses of a vampire universe and if you scroll through Mujer Gato’s galleries, you can see a lot of different scenes and strange worlds. And somewhere inbetween there is as well a dark but enchanting witch in the pumpkin field. Friends of this artstyle and kind of clothing will find a lot of information about unique labels and special shopping opportunities, but also about groups and like-minded people of the genre. Mujer Gato always adds all the necessary information, the links and the online route to the networks. She builds up connections quite continously all the time during her work.
In an interview Mujer Gato told us about her art, her style and especially about the “Dia de los Muertos”. This event and the cultural customs are the core element of Mujer Gato’s art. The podcast is in German, but in the following part most of the passages of the interview are written down and translated into English.
You are very active in quite different fields of art, tell me a bit about what you are doing.
I am a graphic designer by profession and I am very much involved with art, I like that a lot. I worked as a graphic designer in Mexico and since I came to Germany, it changed a little bit and it got more in the direction of art. I chose the theme “Day of the Dead”, because it reminds me of my country and I started to organize exhibitions. There I also did a lot with photography and various other artists.
In the beginning you worked with graphics and photography, but then you started to dress yourself up with cool outfits and stood in front of the camera.
Yeah, but I also already worked as a model in Mexico. With my studies I started there as a graphic designer at the university and afterwards I worked for different companies. But at the same time I have always been a model. At first this was just a hobby. Finally I left my country and came to Germany, and at this time I also left the graphics a bit behind and concentrated more on the other arts. But I think it was then because of this distance to my home. I missed my country so much and that’s why I started working on the “Dia de los Muertos” and the whole them. Translated it means the “Day of the Dead”. For this I organized these exhibitions and I also had photo shootings as a model. But this was a lot more artistic then. The photos which were taken after then were not “normal”, or how to say, they had a lot more artistic elements.
The “Day of the Dead” or “Dia de los Muertos”, for those who don’t know what this is: It is a special occasion every year in Mexico, a bit like a carnival but different. Everyone dresses up and paints their faces. It´s about somehow to get rid of the bad memories, the dark thoughts and fear, by facing it with the same face, as well it´s about missing the dead ones and also remembers the lost, be together with them in your mind and celebrates it in the streets the whole night through with a lot of dancing, fire and attractions.
Yeah, there’s family dinner at the cemetery. Everybody gathers and then makes the favorite meal of the dead who have died. You then celebrate together with the family and believe that at the 1st and 2nd of November the souls of the deceased also return and celebrate with the living and with you. It’s a way to not forget the dead and your ancestors.
This includes the traditional face make-up, which almost looks like a zombie or skeleton.
That´s right, but it’s definitely only skulls and skeletons. This has nothing to do with Halloween, ghosts or horror stuff. These things don’t matter and are a different story. This again comes from the USA. With us it’s really just skeletons and skulls.
In this artistic way you have brought some culture from your country into your projects.
Yes, that’s it. And I never thought I’d do something like this. I really wouldn´t have expect that. So in Mexico, I was just celebrating with my family on the Day of the Dead. I didn’t think I would do something like this here in Germany. Like these special exhibitions on the subject. But I think because I have actually been living in Germany for ten years now and I miss my country very much, it helps me a little bit to remember my country and my culture so that I don’t forget it.
Then at some point strange clothing and cool fashion came along.
In Mexico I just worked as a model and with photographers. And back then it was more of a hobby. But here I already work with labels. I first worked for an agency in Stuttgart as a photographer, I worked with the models and also as a model myself with other photographers.
How do you get your fancy clothes, do you work with labels or do you have special shops?
So with the photos I post on Instagram or Tumblr, you can see this in the links. I am currently working mainly in collaborations with two labels. Once there is “Blackout Stuttgart” and the other is “Pogo”, they are also located in Stuttgart. I also do a lot of advertising for the two labels and of course I get stuff from them when we work together.
In the meantime, a large network has been created. So also with the stylists, fashion designers and people for the make-up. There are always several of you at a shooting or a video shoot.
Yeah, we are a cool creative group which is growing and we are building teams over and over again. I work together with different photographers and artists and I am always looking for people who want to work with me. Then we take a theme and do a shooting or a creative project together. Many also are excited about the topic with the theme “Day of the Dead” or “Dia de los Muertos” and because they know that I deal and work a lot with it they are very interested and therefore also participate.
So you are also not in a permanent team, but work as a freelancer. And if people listen here and they like the photo material, they can also get in touch with you?
Right, I’m a freelancer. I am always looking for new people to work with and do my new projects with. And if someone likes the topic and the ideas, they are very welcome to join in.
You also have produced videos. How have these actions been? Because it is again something different from the photo shootings.
Yes, I do. I made my first short film at some point. That was really funny, because many of my projects start with connection from the internet or requests come from social media. I think these opportunities are just great and I believe in this way of connecting. Many people I have worked with discovered me through Facebook and then wrote me again. It was the same with this short film. A producer from Argentina discovered me on Facebook and he contacted me and asked me if I would like to participate in a project. I had never tried acting before. It was only very short, just one scene, but it was very interesting and I enjoyed it a lot. So we shot this short film then.
I see here too, that was Martin Iglesias from Argentina. And here at the one posting you also had Steven Zuleger and Philipp Seitz linked.
Philipp Seitz makes music and Steven Zuleger makes videos and films. They are really very good German artists, both of whom I can only recommend. (More collaborating artists you can find in the Infothek at the end of the article).
Then you also added “Pogo” for wearing, the label you have mentioned before. So after some time it has become a big network and you can now link brands and artists together in new projects. Here for example you wrote about make-up by Magdaolena.
Yeah, right. Magdaolena is also a graphic designer who can paint very well. This is how I do it with all my projects and ideas or when I have something new. I look for people who want to work with me. The photographers, musicians, video makers, stylists, the make-up and so on. I then present my topic for the project to them and those who are interested will join in.
That’s the beauty of the Internet and social media. You can easily network with someone on the other side of the world and work on common ideas. Like the filmmaker from Argentina, for example.
Yeah, I really appreciate it. That thing with Argentina was really cool, I was totally shocked, but in a positive way. There was another story about Facebook, where I was discovered by an Italian woman with my “Day of the Dead” theme. My profile picture was at that time accordingly, so I was correctly made up as La Catrina. And thanks to these photos, an Italian woman discovered me and then invited me to Italy. There I made an exhibition with my photos to the “Dia de los Muertos”. This social media is a miracle and it is a good madness. You can meet so many people around the world or they get to know you and you can get so many offers. It’s just great! And it’s free too! But I also always do a lot of advertising for all of us, because that is also a help for all of us. I was really grateful for Facebook, because before that there was no Instagram, for example. That was the time when Facebook was booming. It was very modern and everyone was on Facebook. And in this time many people discovered me, like the producer from Argentina or the artist from Italy. I was able to do a lot with it, it was very interesting.
Here in the text to the short film it also says “Gratitude to Sandra Miassar”.
Yeah, she ran Complex 23, now its name is Emma 23. This is the small bar next to the Mobilat in Heilbronn. There are often readings or art events and I also do exhibitions there. We filmed part of a short film at Complex 23, so I was very grateful to Sandra Miassar. She helped me a lot and I could shoot there. There I always made my exhibitions to the “Day of the Dead” and now I do that in Emma 23. Every year on 1. and 2. November.
If one looks at your pictures and also at your fashion, there is a lot of the “Dia de los Muertos” in it, but it actually goes far beyond that. I also have to think about Steam Punk all the time, on many photos there are Lost Places with graffiti and dilapidated buildings. You have developed the whole thing beyond this “Day of the Dead” and that is you now, so Mujer Gato. Also on your Twitter picture, those are cat ears, but more in a SM fetish style. It’s a mix of all these elements, so dark-emo-SM-fetish-fashion and a lot more and you connected it in your own way.
Yeah, I like all that, too. The theme at the beginning was the “Day of the Dead”, but I’m now doing all kinds of things, not just that. I also always like to play a little bit and do various creative crazy stuff.
I just look on your photos on Instagram at the moment. Two of the pictures here remind me very much of Mad Max. So just with these glasses and the Steam Punk elements. Or the subject of occultism can also be found in some of the photos. You play around with these things too.
Yes, I love that very much. I work very close with the shop “Blackout Stuttgart” and they always have such interesting things. I’m trying to fit in a little bit there too and I just like it. It’s crazy, it’s something new, it’s something modern, and it’s just special. Not always the normal.
How big is your apartment then? You must have a whole room with cool clothes and accessories and costumes.
I wish, actually it’s not that big, but I definitely have a room for all my stuff. So for the clothes and the material for the exhibitions and all the trimmings. At the moment, as I said, I’m doing the exhibitions, but also the projects for modeling and art. As a freelancer I always work with different people and I always look for different people for the team.
So it is photography, also performance, but also the own representation as a model for photography. You participate in the fashion design, so you don’t just put on clothes, but you also have freaky accessories and make your own outfit. Do you paint, too?
I can paint. Well, I definitely learned a lot about art at university as a graphic artist and I also painted a lot. I’m certainly enjoying it. But actually I work there more in the computer area, means digitally. So I rather use Photoshop or other programs than painting by hand. For me then, this is more like a hobby.
If you paint something by hand, you do it rather on other faces or on your own face.
Yeah, right. I work with myself a lot and I just use my body or myself as an art object.
You are currently in Heilbronn, can you do exhibitions there? What kind of shops and opportunities are there?
Well, Heilbronn is actually very small. I’m from Mexico City. For me it was a bit difficult because I was not used to live in such small villages. I miss the big city. In a big city there is so much and you can go anywhere. It’s amazing, there’s so much to offer. But unfortunately this does not exist in small villages. But at least the people here make an effort and there are definitely a few places where you can have exhibitions and show your art. For example the Emma 23, which I just mentioned and where I make my exhibition “Day of the Dead” every year. This year I will probably do another one and I have done a few so far. First in Complex 23 with Sandra Miassar, with her I started this. Now the owner has changed and it is called Emma 23, but I still do the event there. They always open the doors for me and I can present my exhibition. There are also various other exhibitions and they always have something new. But with me it has already become a tradition since quite a while and it is always on 31st of October.
Are there any other projects on the horizon right now? Are you planning a film or is there a new style you want to try out in the near future?
I have to see what’s coming first. I can always plan the “Dia de los Muertos”, because it´s always on the same day, but I still have to organize new doings. I have a photo project which I worked on. It was with a photographer here in Heilbronn and with the artist Oliver Olschewski. I still have to edit and work on the material. So this is my recent next project: photography together with painting.
Another question to your fabulous and crazy outfit: Do you also sew by yourself or do you design clothes yourself?
In the past, I actually wanted to learn fashion instead of graphic design. In the end I decided to go into graphic design. This was also due to the photography, because I like photography very much. I don’t really do the sewing. I can’t do that either. But I would like to be able to do that better and to do more. I work with different fashion designers and we conceive different projects together, but unfortunately I cannot sew. I’d like to be able to do that.
If you look at all the photos, there is really a lot of cool, interesting and freaky stuff there. Are some of them really unique and just made for you?
Thank you, I’ll take care of most of that. And yes, that’s so. I then also look for the fashion designers or they look for me and we then think about a topic. Then we do the shooting together and also produce the photos together. But unfortunately I cannot sew clothes myself or design fashion. I always wanted to learn that.
Have you also been to fashion shows as a model or have you been involved in organizing such performances?
No, I’m afraid not yet. I definitely want to participate in fashion shows, but I don’t have a project of my own. Then we rather do shootings and photographs. That means recordings and no live performance. So far we have at least only taken these photos, but also short films. In the “Zigarre” in Heilbronn for example, we had an exhibition on Frida Kahlo, which was also one of my exhibitions. And there also this Gif with the scissors was created as Frida interpretation. I portrayed myself as Frida with an animation. It’s called cinema graphics.
Piercings and tattoos fit there as body jewelers also prima to it. What do you think of that?
I think that’s really great! It’s a very good way to show yourself. For me, it’s a kind of art, too. It’s extraordinary. I like anything extraordinary. I hate it when things are normal. I always want something different. And I think it’s great what people are doing these days. The theme of piercing and tattooing is fully trendy and fully modern. I think it’s very great and it’s an art in itself. Respect for the people who are doing it!
Now we could get a small overview of all your creative areas.
Yes, I actually started with graphic design in Mexico, and modeling was always there. But then, when I came to Germany, the course changed a little bit and it went more in the direction of art and photography. It was then less graphics, but more photography and there were also exhibitions. So just to the topic “Day of the Dead” and also to the shootings. I have changed all that a little bit and I do not longer work directly with graphic design, but with much more with other art styles.
Thank you Mujer Gato for the nice interview and for the insight into your artistic world.
Yes, many thanks to you too, and for giving me and all the other artists the opportunity to present ourselves here. You’ve seen us on Instagram or Facebook or somewhere and you reacted to it. I am really grateful that you are also making a space and a place for us so that other people can get to know us. It’s all about contacts and vitamin B. That’s what they say, right? The relationships and the vitamin B. (red: in German relation means = Beziehung, fist letter is “B”) So I am super thankful and glad that people find my stuff cool. It sounds very good when someone else tells you that what you do is interesting. Thank you for the invitation for the interview!
MUJER GATO ABOUT “DIA DE LOS MUERTOS”
The day of the dead is celebrated November 1st and 2nd in alignment with All Saints Day & All Souls Day respectively. It is NOT celebrated on October 31st, it is not tied in with Halloween in America at all. In Mexico, November 1st is dedicated as Dia De Los Inocentes, a day to honor and respect the innocents, children & infants to be more specific. November 2nd is Dia De Los Muertos, the day to honor deceased adults. On these days, altars are made in honor of them. People build them on their loved ones graves, at home or anywhere they find rightful to honor their loved ones. They make ofrendas (offerings) to the dead of their favorite foods, toys (for children), pictures, pan de muertos, sugar skulls and many other things that help guide the spirits of the dead safely to the altars. Marigolds, known as the flowers of the dead, are usually prominent in the altars.
MUJER GATO – INFOTHEK
MUJER GATO – ARTIST NETWORK
Arun Radha Om: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009841534003
Deftigman Obscura: https://www.deftigmanobscura.com
EMMA 23: https://www.facebook.com/BarEMMA23
Frank von zur Gathen: https://www.flickr.com/photos/42097833@N02
Freiraum Photos: https://www.freiraum-photos.de
Karrar Kamil: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100010178740306
Mona Hofmann: https://monahofmann.com
M. Schmidt Fotografie: http://loves.hamburg/photo
Philipp Seitz: https://soundcloud.com/philipp-s
Robert Cosio: https://www.instagram.com/disekc
Stella B-Art: https://de-de.facebook.com/stellabart.official
Steven Zuleger: https://www.youtube.com/user/stevenzuleger1982
Txema Bravo: https://www.facebook.com/txema.bravo
MUJER GATO – LABELS REPRESENT
Black Blessed: https://www.facebook.com/theBlackBlessed
Blackout Stuttgart: https://www.blackout-stuttgart.de
Cheap Monday: https://www.cheapmonday.com
Dr. Martens: https://www.drmartens.com
Ivory Jar: https://www.facebook.com/IvoryJar