Over the holidays, Joseph Rivera-Ramos ’04 was chosen to showcase his artwork in the competitive window space and displays of New York City, where praise for his designs led him to develop a new product line of home and fashion accessories for men and women.
Rivera-Ramos currently operates his own lifestyle consulting business, Rivera-Ramos Design for the Art of Living, and works for the furniture company Stickley, Audi and Co., as its textile and resource librarian in the Manhattan showroom.
Stickley asked Rivera-Ramos to create a holiday-themed display, so the artist made wrapping paper and ornaments from his own designs for New Yorkers to admire throughout the window-shopping season. The assignment, says Rivera-Ramos, fit perfectly into his vision for his artwork and products.
“My artwork is a central feature of my product-line,” says Rivera-Ramos. “My clients are directly linked to my work and not handed a generic design with anonymous patterns found anywhere.”
Rivera-Ramos’ idea to make personalized accessories was inspired by the Golden Age of Queen Elizabeth the First and the Renaissance when wealthy families would commission artwork of their family crests in different colors, often to embellish their clothing.
“This was a privilege the nobility had,” says Rivera-Ramos. “Now I am able to offer it to many more people due to the advancements in manufacturing and printing technologies.” This idea inspired the name of the new line, “The Noble Line” which is set to be released this spring.
A percentage of sales from all of Rivera-Ramos products will be donated to agencies that are tackling challenging problems in society. With 50 percent of proceeds from designated collections, Rivera- Ramos hopes to establish an Urban Ecology Lab in his hometown of Paterson, N.J. through his personal foundation. The lab’s mission will be to “assist and inspire in the process of reinventing the city’s greatness and reformulating its purpose for the future,” and will have the potential to be replicated in other locations.
He also intends to donate another 5 percent of sales to Acrosanti, an Urban Laboratory in Arizona. Built as an experimental town in the 70s, the facility offers educational opportunities in sustainable design and urban planning. Rivera-Ramos’ donations will go toward building and development plans to support maintenance for the facility. He credits the lab for shaping his “life’s vision and purpose,” during an internship he completed at Acrosanti with the Cosanti Foundation after he graduated from HWS.
Rivera-Ramos’ work is available through his Facebook page. At HWS, he was a member of Chi Phi, received the Leo Srole Prize in Urban Studies and the President’s Public Service Award.