tamara ruiz

 
 

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(email) 
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ARTIST'S STATEMENT

My name is Tamara Ruiz and I’m a contemporary artist working in a number of mediums, primarily mixed-media.  I live on a small farm in Nebraska with my husband, Bob, three shelter dogs, a herd of rescued mini donkeys, a really pretty horse and a stray cat named Barney.  Living in the midwest my entire life – Missouri, Illinois, Kansas and now Nebraska – has impacted both the style and subject matter of my work.

My mixed media work combines vintage photographs and ephemera with the modern aspects of paint, surface design and imagery of the graffiti on trains that pass by our farm. My work consists of strong shapes and a well-defined color palette influenced by the small towns and open prairies of my environment, as well as by the graphic style of old postcards and vintage photographs populating local estate sales and antique shops.  The juxtaposition of the old and the new gives my work a contemporary twist.

My large collection of original vintage photos and abandoned family photo albums provide the focal point for each piece.  I create my own story, or interpretation, of the featured vintage photo with the composition and design choices I make.  Layers of paper and paint – distressed with sandpaper throughout the process – allow the collage process to show through.  Many of the photos I use show people having a good time or expressing a sense of humor.  I like that.  I want people to smile when they look at my work.  I want them to feel a connection with – or a curiosity about – the person in the photo.  The expressions and nostalgic details of the photographed subjects, when enlarged to 3 or 4 feet, make a big impact on the viewer.  It saddens me that in 50 years there aren’t going to be boxes of vintage photos and handwritten letters at estate sales for someone to buy.  Photos are kept on phones and computers today, and emails have replaced handwritten letters.