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.
I currently have work in collections throughout the U.S. and also in Belgium, Norway and Singapore. My work has been exhibited in juried shows across the U.S., and also at The American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri and the Nebraska Cattlemen’s Ball. In 2013, I had a month long, solo exhibition at the Nebraska Governor’s Residence in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2015 and 2016 I exhibited in Cowgirl Up! at the Desert Caballeros Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona; and The Russell: Exhibition and Sale at the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana. I continue to exhibit and sell my work in juried and invitational art shows throughout the U.S., through gallery representation and online through my website.
If you have any questions, or would like information on commissions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for visiting my website and for your interest in my work.
Current Gallery Representation:
Jules Place Gallery, Boston, MA www.julesplace.com
Slate Gray Gallery, Telluride, CO and Kerrville, TX www.slategraygallery.com