Getting to the Bottom of Those Red Dots Around Montrose

reddot1_1.jpg
Courtesy photo
The very first red dot, in rural Kansas.
"Anyone know about these red dots painted around Montrose," a poster recently asked on the local music forum Hands Up Houston. "Keep seeing them, have always wondered."

The question included a link to a Google Maps street view of one Montrose-area dot. Another poster said he'd heard the artist painted the orbs while nude, a story that piqued our interest.

Art Attack has seen those red dots before, too. But for some reason they'd never really stood out in all the other weirdness that makes up the Montrose. But having never heard of the Red Dot Boys before that Hands Up post, we decided to do a little research and get to the bottom (pun intended) of the question.

The project is the brain child of former Houstonians Robert Ramos and Rick Carpenter, both artists. Several years ago, the two volunteered to help Rick's brother Randy with work on a farm Randy owned in Auburn, Kansas.

"I'm a painter," said Rick Carpenter. "Robert does multimedia and is a well-rounded artist. We didn't know each other well, but he came on the trip with me."

After about a week in the country, the duo was art-starved. During a beer run to the nearest town, they devised a plan to surprise Rick's brother.

"We were bored one afternoon so we said what could we do?" Ramos said. "We wanted to give his brother some visual art."

"In Kansas, a lot of the barns had advertisements painted on them," Carpenter said.

Randy had given Rick Carpenter a 53" steel hoop that had once been the frame for a surrey wheel. Carpenter, being a lover of round shapes, decided to use the hoop as a guide to paint a giant dot on his brother's barn.

"The only question was what color should it be," Ramos said. "Rick's brother's dog's name was Red, so that was pretty easy. We went to a Benjamin Moore store and found the brightest red we could find -- Carnival Red."

Back at the ranch, the men sent Carpenter's brother off on an errand, and proceeded to paint the very first of what would later become more than 100 red dots. When his brother got home, he loved the piece, and so it stayed.

"Nobody was supposed to see it," Carpenter said. "My dad got out the power washer -- he wanted to wash it off but my brother said no."

Pretty soon, "the whole town was talking about this red dot," Carpenter said. "A lot of people surrounded us, so we started painting a couple more and the reception was the same everywhere."

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7 comments
Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Lan
Lan

I am a 27 years old doctor,mature and beautiful. and now i am seeking a good man who can give me real love, so i got a sername Andromeda2002 on  Agedate.СòM, a nice and free place for younger women and older men,or older women and younger men, to interact with each other.Maybe you wanna check out or tell your friends.

Ramosdotboy
Ramosdotboy

I am sitting with artist Robert Ramos in his kitchen right now.  They  are the proud parents of nearly 100 Red Dots as of this writing.  I am happy to say that my apartment building, which faces Golden Gate Park, sports a Red Dot (#97) and is seen by thousands of people every year.  Sharon Camhi

Roadchick
Roadchick

Robert and Rick are very good friends of mine, and I did a story on them for National Public Radio in the lat 1990s during my broadcasting days. Robert Ramos is back in his beloved San Francisco, and Rick Carpenter is now in Boston after several years in the CA bay area. Both of them continue to practice their art, although I don't think they've done a red dot for many years.

Many red dots in the Houston area have been painted over or destroyed (there was one on the old TX Art League building, now Inversion coffee house).  I always smile when I see one!

you could look into it,
you could look into it,

... or you could've just read the previous Houston Press Story from the archives.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Oddly enough, nothing shows up in either a Google search nor a search of the Press archives for "red dot", "red dot boys", "Rick Carpenter" or "Robert Ramos." Also, our editor, who has been here over a decade, knew nothing of the story.

Too bad you were in too much of a hurry to provide a link.

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