100 Creatives 2013: Gilbert Ruiz, Dichotomous Artist

Categories: 100 Creatives

What He Does: Gilbert Ruiz has only been showing his work as an artist for about three years, but the quality of his offerings is unmistakable and shows tremendous promise. Above you'll see his painting 'Just Out of Reach," a powerful piece of longing and mystery that makes you ask whether the subject is stretching to touch something beautiful from the cold darkness of his cell, or seeks to crush something bright that mocks his misery. That's the true glory of all of Ruiz's work, and the thread that seems to unite them. Dark and light play off of each other, leading the viewer down dichotomous paths at the same time. Two worlds always collide.

There's an even more unnerving series of his called Black and White that takes this tendency to extremes. Nominally it's nothing but a collection of abstract shadows, but patterns like houses and people emerge for the gray areas where the black and white meet together. Things are always coming from different dimensions in his art, and it can be both uplifting and terrifying.

Within Us All
Why He Likes It: "I love sharing what I create with others. I don't really wear my emotions on my sleeve (at least not the deeply rooted ones), and in much of my work what feel gets poured out onto paper and canvas for as many people as possible to see. For me it's cathartic. The best part is when others can relate exactly to what's being expressed, or if they see something completely different and have a connection that way. At that point it transcends the flat surface and becomes something more."

What Inspires Him: Probably the biggest inspiration for Ruiz is music, especially instrumental music. Much of his work is an attempt to replicate his interpretation of sound in a visual manner. The way patterns reverberate off every-day life is the secret to his distinct vision of the world as a shifting series of facets.

As a kid Ruiz enjoyed comic book art, and drawing comic book characters was his introduction to anatomy. In high school he was heavily influenced by the Surrealists like Dali, Magritte, and Ernst, and then in college he discovered Matisse, Picasso, Klee, and Braque. Lately, he's obsessed with the New York school of the 1940s and '50s, especially the works of Pollock, De Kooning, Hoffman, and Gorky, as well as more obscure artists he's discovered through the Menil.

Oasis No. 2
If Not This, Then What: "I would be involved in music, probably performing. I used to play clarinet in band and orchestra while in school. That's actually how I became passionate about classical music. I had plans to play in college and dreamt that maybe one day the Houston Symphony. I wanted to learn piano and guitar. I still do. Life just got in the way, but it turns out having more time to focus on art was a good thing."

If Not Here, Then Where: Ruiz is a city boy, and if he had to leave Houston it would be for another metropolis like New York or San Francisco. That said, he has no plans on going anywhere, as he feels the art scene in the city, including the opportunities it offers for so many young artists, is second to none.

What's Next: "Keep creating. I feel I'm in the early stages of my art career. I have a big text document full of ideas I have for paintings, ideas for entire series of works. I work full time, so the plan to is to create as much as possible, when I have the time, over the next year and to show in as many venues as possible. I'm entertaining the idea of showing elsewhere in Texas as well. I wouldn't mind having a studio sometime soon either."

More Creatives for 2013
(In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).

Dionne Sparkman Noble, choreographer and professor
Lee Wright, artist
Vic Shuttee, comedy writer and performer

Robin Davidson, poet and translator

Jessica Wilbanks, essayist and Pushcart Prize winner
David DeHoyos, astronaut photographer
Sophie Jordan, bestselling book author

Jessi Jordan, comic artist, beekeeper and yeti enthusiast
Patrick Peters, architect and professor
Jamie Kinosian, visual artist
Paris F. Jomadiao, mixed-media artist and stop motion animator

Shanon Adams, dancer
James Glassman, Houstorian historian and artist
Lou Vest, photographer
Sara Gaston, stage and screen star
Rachael Pavlik, a writer mom
Ana Villaronga-Roman, Katy Contemporary Arts Museum director

Erin Wasmund, actor, singer and dancer
Karim Al-Zand, composer
Jan Burandt, paper conservator for The Menil Collection
Deke Anderson, actor

Craig Cohen, hockey fan and host of Houston Matters
Mauro Luna, Poe-Inspired photographer
Trond Saeverud, Galveston Symphony Orchestra music director and conductor
Khrystyna Balushka, paper flower child
Christina Carfora, visual artist and world traveler
Sara Kumar, artistic director for Shunya Theatre
Kiki Maroon, burlesque clown
Gin Martini, fashion designer
Lacey Crawford, painter and sculptor
Homer Starkey, novelist
Jenn Fox, mixed media Shohei Iwahama, dancer
Erica DelGardo, metalsmith
Bob Clark, executive director Houston Family Arts Center
Kerrelyn Sparks, bestselling romance author

Lindsay Halpin, punk rock mad hatter
Drake Simpson, actor
Shelby Carter, Playboy model turned photographer
David Matranga, actor
Crystal Belcher, pole dancer
Daniel Kramer, photographer
Blue 130, pin-up explosion art

Nina Godiwalla, author and TED speaker
David Wilhem, light painter
Tom Abrahams, author and newscaster
Browncoat, pin-up pop artist
Kris Becker, Nu-Classical composer and pianist
Vincent Fink, science fashion
Stephanie Saint Sanchez, Senorita Cinema founder
Ned Gayle, thrift store painting defacer

Sameera Faridi, fashion designer
Greg Ruhe, The Human Puppet

Sophia L. Torres, founder and co-artistic director of Psophonia Dance Company
Maggie Lasher, dance professor and artistic director
Jordan Jaffe, founder of Black Lab Theatre
Outspoken Bean, performance poet
Barry Moore, architect
Josh Montoute, mobile gaming specialist
Ty Doran, young actor
Gwen Zepeda, Houston's first Poet Laureate
Joseph Walsh, principal dancer at Houston Ballet
Justin Garcia, artist
Buck Ross, dilettante and director of Moores Opera Center
Patrick Renner, sculptor of the abstract and the esoteric
Tomas Glass, abstract artist and True Blood musician
Ashley Stoker, painter, photographer and Tumblr muse
Amy Llanes, artistic airector of Rednerrus Feil Dance Company
Bevin Bering Dubrowski, executive director at the Houston Center for Photography

Lydia Hance, founder and director of Frame Dance Productions
Piyali Sen Dasgupta, mixed media artist and nature lover
Dean James, New York Times bestselling mystery novelist
Nicola Parente, abstract painter and photographer

Cheryl Schulke, handmade leather pursemaker
Anthony Rathbun, Alternative Lifestyle Photographer
David Salinas, computer-less analog photographer

Danielle Burns, art curator
Alicia DiRago, Whimseybox founder

Katia Zavistovski, contemporary art curator

Ashley Horn, choreographer, filmmaker
Amanda Stevens, scary book author
Peter Lucas, film and video curator, music lover and self-described culture-slinger

Ana María Otamendi, collaborative pianist and vocal coach

Billy D. Washington, comedian
Michele Brangwen, choreographer and dancer

Kristin Warren, actress and choreographer

Kelly Sears, animator and film maker
Colton Berry, Bayou City Theatrics' artistic director

jhon r. stronks,dance-maker
Joe Grisaffi, actor, director, writer, cinematographer

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