Paul aka ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ is an American born n based artist making major waves in the pop art and zine worlds. His politically charged art mixes tropes from manga, with soft painting, illustration and a whole lot of pastels. A self described feminist, Paul uses both his art and his Monster Girl creation as a vehicle for the ideas of self love, inclusion, community and the beauty of bodily functions.
(Picture below of Paul aka ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’)
With Paul’s Monster Girl creation spreading throughout the pop art subconscious, now is the perfect time to get to know the man and his art, by reading the Art Talk interview, below…
Basics / Getting to Know
Name + D.O.B?
Paul Gonsalves (GhostsinmyRamen)
City, State n Country you currently call home?
San Francisco Bay Area, California
City, State n Country your from?
(Picture below of a ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ painting)
Describe a memory from some stages of yr life ….basically trying to piece together your pivotal moments. Concerts, art, action-figures, romance, school, crime… ANYTHING!
* age 5 – beginnings:
I was obsessed with Monsters even as a kid. I loved old monster movies, had a stuffed Dracula doll i carried around as a child, and loved collecting the manuals from my old Nintendo games and looking at the drawings of all the creatures from each game.
* age 10 – continuations:
I kept getting into different monster genres.
I remember watching a lot for Sci Fi channel, MST3K and Godzilla films.
* age 15 – getting serious:
I started to get more into art, though it didn’t become a serious thing for me until my Senior year in High School. It was my second year with my art teacher Jo Sutton, whom I’m still friends with and need to grab a beer with soon, when I started to find a voice in my art.
While in the beginning it was a lot of Monster themed paintings as well as stuff inspired by Retro video games, I started to use my art to call out things I say as problematic in society.
* age 20 – young adult:
I was working in the Art department at my old High School, and working on developing themes in my art.
I started to collect old video games and monster films again, to get more inspiration.
* age 25 – further continuations:
It was around this time I met my friend, and Zine publisher Allen, and started to work on more Zine and Illustration projects. I also started collecting more Zines and began to insert my feminist ideas into my art a lot more.
Last year, I took a break from my series of Period Ghost work to draw a little hairy Monster Girl, and now a year into that idea, its become my main focus.
I don’t have a motto really, just a lot of alcohol fueled rants.
Why the name ‘Ghost in my Ramen’?
I was drawing a scene of girls sitting at a counter in a ramen shop, and started drawing the steam as little ghosts.
For some reason I fell in love with the name, and I’ve used it ever since.
Favorite other artist(s)?
Jamie Hewlett, Yoshitomo Nara, Invader, Yayoi Kusama, FilthyRatBag, Joanna Thangiah, Vanessa Tejada (CreatureRythem) to name a few.
(Picture below of some ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ art)
Worst aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Not having beer money (bar tabs add up).
Best aspect of the contemporary art-hustle?
Seeing your finished work, and seeing people that are fans of it.
Do you consider what you are making to be ‘art’, ‘design’, re-hashed crap?
It depends, I always feel like i’m probably just making art that somebody else made better and I just haven’t seen it yet.
When and why did you first start making ‘art’ (drawings, paintings, anything)?
I always remember drawing, I’ve just always enjoyed the process.
I love to zone out and create.
What did you draw and make as a pre-teen child?
A lot of video game fan art, and copying Jamie Hewlett drawings haha
What did you draw and make as a teen?
I started to draw more Monsters with Feminist or political undertones
Any pivotal artistic moment/influence?
Meeting my Senior Year art Teacher, Jo Sutton.
She planted the seeds that have gotten me this far.
(Pictures below of Paul in his early 20s)
Why + when did you decide to go in on the art hustle?
I guess it went from passionate hobby, to passion about 4 years ago when I went to my first Alternative Press Expo in San Francisco. It made me want to create more art and add my voice to the art hustle.
Describe the process of producing your art – dot point all o.k…
* your drawings and illustrations?
I usually get an idea, either from a discussion with someone or one that just pops into my head.
Sometimes I sketch it out a few times, usually if its a zine or comic idea, or just grab some paper and start drawing.
I’ll sketch, and erase a few times, then start inking.
Then scan, edit, and post.
* your paintings?
Similar to my drawings, I’ll get the idea and sketch it a bit, Then grab a canvas and transfer the idea.
Though i often do over and redo A LOT of my paints haha.
* your zines?
After the idea, I grab graph paper and storyboard out some panels. I’ll usually work on the rough ideas for a few weeks, starting pages once i get maybe 75% of the idea out.
I edit and change the pages a lot as I go.
* your stickers?
If I draw something I think would look good slapped up on a wall, then I edit a file, and head over to a print shop.
How did it feel having ole Atölye MAT convert your Monster Girl creation into a charm figure?
I LOVED IT!
I honestly love seeing all the fan art of my Monster Girls.
I’ve only been drawing the Monster Girls for a year now (Last June is when I sketched the first one) and I love how many people really identify with and enjoy the character and add their own spin on her.
Its super rewarding.
(Picture below of the sculpted Monster Girl by Atölye MAT)
Odds n Ends
Please describe your experiences growing up in the USA?
I’ve lived in California my whole life. All and all, I love the place.
I’ve visited the UK (where 95% of my relatives are) and Canada, and honestly I could see myself there. I especially loved my time around London, and really want to go back soon.
But my ideas, and my personality have been shaped by my life here. The people I’ve met in Berkeley and SF, seeing the art, the lives of people on the streets, and in the rich areas of Silicon Valley, seeing the way people channel their politics and beliefs into art.
I’ve been shaped by the art I’ve seen and people I’ve met.
After 28 years here, its definitely my home.
Shonen Knife, The Ramones, Bikini Kill, Cibo Matto, Akira Yamaoka
Favorite TV show(s)?
MST3K, Cinema Insomnia, anything Charlie Brooker makes, I mostly watch internet series.
I only use my TV to play Nintendo and Atari games on.
Ghost World, Dead Leaves, Rocky Horror Picture Show, any old black and white horror films you have in your DVD collection
Favorite books and comics?
Ghost World, anything by Kazuo Umezu or Junji Ito, Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, Silver Screen Fiend, collections of short horror stories (Lovecraft, Poe, Ambrose Bierce etc)
(Pictures below of some ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ sketches)
Who was your 1st crush and why?
First i can remember was Tim Curry in Rocky Horror.
I remember saying “shes pretty!” then my mother saying, “that’s a boy”, and me responding “He’s pretty”.
I think it was the Dracula cape.
Does sex change everything?
I’m sure it does for some people not for me though.
Please describe your latest dream in detail…
I never remember my dreams, I dream almost every night, and barely ever remember any of the details.
(Picture below of a ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ painting)
Drugs – waste of time or gateway to the universe?
I’m more of an alcohol guy, but whatever works.
Have you ever tried psychedelics of any sort? And what was the experience like?
I’ve had booze, and pot.
Never felt a need to try anything else.
Of everything you have done what would you most like to be remembered for and why?
I suppose that I made art that made some people feel good. That’s good enough for me.
Please describe what you think the American Psyche/Zeitgeist is today?
A shame spiral.
We are making a lot of improvements, but there’s a long way to go. It seems bad now, but that’s what the death rattle of a bunch of racist, sexist, scumbags sounds like when they see their world slipping away from them.
It’s baby steps. Which isn’t satisfying at all of course, but I feel like its the way most progress goes.
Which 1990’s era cartoon, would you most like to see in a tribute sex toy, and why?
I have to go with Ahh! Real Monsters. An Oblina vibrator is a must.
And you could even make some Gromble inspired Red Fetish Heels.
( Picture below of the ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ Ahh! Real Monsters tribute sex toy)
Who would win in a fight and why: A gang of riot grrrls Vs. Some drunk jocks heading home after the game?
Gotta give it to the Riot Grrrls, because they have something worth fighting for.
(Picture below of the fight)
Any collaborations on the horizon?
I’m going to be working more with SeaWitchSF on her ongoing Let It Bleed zines, and hopefully collabing with some local artists soon.
Any major projects you want to hype?
I’ll be working on expanding my Monster Girl art including screen printing some merch, more zines, and some Keshi figures.
And I’ll be collaborating with @SeaWitchSF for her next ‘Let It Bleed” tampon drive and zine/music show.
- ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ – Instagram
- ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ – online store
- ‘Ghosts in my Ramen’ – Facebook