Westminster artist Amber Ramirez wins Wine Festival poster contest

Westminster artist Amber Ramirez wins Wine Festival poster contest
(Carroll County Times)

The Maryland Wine Festival began in 1984 at the Shriver Homestead in Union Mills. The Festival quickly outgrew the property and was moved to the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster where it became a two-day affair. The Festival will feature wines from over 40 Maryland Wineries Association's member wineries September 19 and 20. Each year the Farm Museum sponsors a design competition for The Maryland Wine Festival's promotional poster. The winning artist, Amber Ramirez, will receive a $1,000 cash prize. Ramirez, 25, is a full-time artist, and part-time barista at Birdie's Café. We caught up with Ramirez, of Westminster, to chat about her winning design.

Q: When did you first become interested in art?


A: Ever since I was a little kid really. I went from crayons to pencils to paint and have always wanted to make a career out of my passion. Haven't quite got to that point yet but I'm getting there!

Q: Did you have an artistic mentor? What did you learn from him/her?

A: Not a mentor no, but I've always been surrounded by people who inspire me. I know a ton of different kind of artists, paper cutters, painters, photographers, and tattoo artists to name a few. I learn new techniques from them constantly.

Q: Why did you decide to submit your design to the contest?

A: I actually found out about it via my boss's mother, Helen Hosfeld. I entered a design a couple years ago and didn't win it, but I wasn't discouraged. Helen and my co-workers pushed me to give it another try, and I'm glad they did! I am very fortunate to know such supportive people.

Q: What techniques or talents did you use in the poster?

A: I am a traditional artist, so I like to get my hands dirty! All my art is created with pencils, paints or markers. I do make minor edits in Photoshop though. My medium of choice for this piece was Prismacolor pencils on white stock paper. Prismacolor makes soft leaded pencils that I love and have been using for years.

Q: What was your design process?

A: I began with sketching out a bunch of thumbnails. I will start with an idea and create several versions of it until I make one that I'm happy with. I then start the final sketch, and go over that with Indian ink creating crisp lines. I'll erase my sketchy mess and continue with the coloring process. Normally, I start from the background to the foreground. After I was happy with the colors I went back over some of the lines with more Indian ink. I like to make certain elements pop! I continue on with what I consider the most tedious part. Editing the colors to match the original piece, and adding text. I am not the most computer savvy person so this part always takes me the longest. After I give it one last look over it's done.

Q: What influenced your design?

A: I was heavily influenced by tattoos actually. I really like how a lot of tattoo artists have a flow to their art that draws your attention around a whole design. That way you see all the little details. It was also influenced by Maryland, of course, and some of the things our state is known for. Our delicious blue crabs, our unique one-of-a kind flag, our state flower and our amazing local wineries!

Q: Your design will be reproduced on posters, t-shirts, brochures and various other promotional materials for The 2015 Maryland Wine Festival. Which form are you most excited to see in person and why?

A: I probably am most excited about seeing the t-shirts. I have never had my art printed on clothing before and I can't wait to see how it looks.

Q: What are your plans for the $1,000 cash prize?


A: Nothing too exciting unfortunately. I'm putting it toward bills, buying myself some much needed art supplies, and probably throwing some of it into my savings.