It was a cold December night when a friend asked Welder Ramiro Vasquez to go with him to a local bar. Vasquez didn't want to leave the comforts of his warm home and now jokes that he basically was forced to go out that evening.
That's when, where and how Vasquez met Chris Boisselleand the two hit it off, immediately. Boisselle called Vasquez the next day and arranged their first date.
Four years later, they are the happy couple, four years together.
"I made a good impression that night, I guess," Vasquez said, laughing. "If I hadn't gone out that night, we probably never would have met. It's very serendipitous.
"I thank my friend every day."
Vasquez is a visual artist, with a small studio inside their third-floor apartment. Boisselle, 27, originally from Chicopee, Mass., is a family practice doctor at Illinois Masonic Hospital.
Vasquez has been painting since elementary school, when he joined the school's art club and begged his parents to continually buy him art supplies.
He has completed more than 40 paintings of various sizes. He also draws, sketches and sculpts.
His largest painting measures about 58x32 inches and offers his rendition of the Old Town neighborhood.
"I'm developing my own style, and it's still evolving," Vasquez said. "It's now more abstract than it once was. More fluid, more loose.
"I'm trying to figure out who I am as a person, and then translate that into my art."
Vasquez spends 20 or 30 hours on every painting, often grinding out five-hour shifts. His paintings cost about $500 on average and are available on his website, www.welderramiro.com . They are acrylic- or oil-based, and he always hangs his work in his home before selling them, to see how they may look in others' homes.
He regularly paints cityscapes. In fact, he often walks around Chicago, never worrying if he's lost, and then finds a spot that he wants to paint. So, he takes a photo of the location with his cell phone and the process has begunif he doesn't have painting supplies with him at the time. "I try to take advantage of all this city has to offer," he said. "It's fun incorporating all of my hobbiesexploring, painting and going out for lunch."
Welder Ramiro Vasquez
Cooking, singing and playing Guitar Hero "I'm pretty good at it, though not at expert level, yet."
Nation of origin
Boston University, Class of 2007
Dating Dr. Chris Boisselle
Regularly makes homemade soup, and was chopping onions for French onion soup the day Windy City Times visited
Claude Monet and Chuck Close
Italian, Spanish and English