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Meet Doraelia Ruiz, Artist in Hollywood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Doraelia Ruiz.

Doraelia, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am probably a little different from your normal business person on here. My business, in a sense, is myself. I am an emerging artist and writer from Texas originally. As a painter, my work is rooted in the modern digital age and the vying for what we can never have. A true depiction of the false reality we live in. I think LA is kind of the perfect background for this kind of modern “photoshopped” painting.

I use a combination of found imagery, popular culture images, my own paintings, and other artists’ work to create images. I combine these elements digitally then print them on commercial grade vinyl and stretch them on panels and wood bars. They pose as traditional “paintings” though they are supremely masked. Aren’t we all? Once stretched, I physically paint over the image once more and combine the techniques of the digital and manual in one piece; adding a touch of humanity, like blush on a Frankenstein.

The tension and unresolved nature of the work causes one to try to define its origin to a distinct place, image, medium, or technique.The image exists neither in the here or there, but in an ever-continual limbo. It may be held and seen but never truly ascertained. We are never one moment or one place or one experience, we are constantly complicated evolutions of all our encounters living and dying in a second.

I was raised in Texas and went to Brown for college and focused on writing while I was there. Even though I primarily work in the painting medium, I still write and often incorporate text into my paintings.

I came to LA even though I spent most of my years on the East Coast because in the art world LA is very much the underdog, it is very much still developing. The dream of the “wild west” is still very real. The LA art scene is evolving every second and feels more alive than anywhere else I’ve studied art. I can feel a real ownership of the voice of what it means to be an LA artist here. I love LA and I can feel my future here. I am proud to call LA my home as an artist.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It is never a smooth road. My professor once told me, “if you aren’t struggling in your studio, you are doing something wrong.” I have to remind myself of this whenever I am having a bad day or making work I am completely at odds with.

One of the biggest struggles I encountered was when I returned from my grant to study at the Royal College of Art in London after grad school. I came back to LA in December and had committed to my first solo show as an artist in March. I was dead broke, working two jobs to try to pay for the show, and then suddenly I became deathly ill. I couldn’t seem to track what the illness was or why it kept coming back. I continued with my show despite those challenges and despite the gallery owner offering for me to be able to push it back a month or two.

I never felt more tested as an artist, and never dealt with a multitude of uncertainties and doubt as I did leading up to my first solo show. I honestly wasn’t sure I’d survive, and if I did, I was certain I would have to eventually move back home to Texas and live with my father. Luckily I made it through that time.

During that time I saw how this city was truly a city of “angels”. Every time I had a terrible day, the incredible and undeserved kindness by coworkers, peers, even strangers, would help me to continue, would feed me when I had no money or food. I had gotten incredibly behind on bills because of the medical costs, and out of nowhere, I won an emergency health grant for LA artists given by the Women’s Center for Creative Work. I finally had a diagnosis for my illness and with the influx of cash, I could finally get the treatment I needed. Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is keep going. I decided at some point during all that misery that I wasn’t going to just sheepishly give in. I decided if LA wanted me gone it would have to drag me out kicking and screaming.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
My company is myself, I’m an artist. I focus primarily on painting. How I define painting can change from mixed media to digital illustrations, to tradition oil work.

What I am most proud of is my story. I am proud of where I came from and proud of what I (try to) represent as an artist.

What sets me apart? I think all artists have unique stories and backgrounds, I think we are all naturally set apart.

What were you like growing up?
My parents tell me that growing up I was a real pain in you know what. That’s probably true. I was crazy determined, either by one venture or another. I was willful, stubborn, and never appeased. Few people know however that I was secretly a boy in my head, I had a whole other name and life for myself. So in my waking life as a girl, I was often shy and aloof. I was nerdy and was always consumed with leaving my hometown, for as long as I can remember.

I was interested/obsessed with Lisa Frank. I had a sticker collection and would get lost in her whirl of colors. They made me feel something nothing else could. Also geodes. I would scour empty acres outside my father’s apartment for hours looking for ugly rocks that could possibly contain a gorgeous glittering interior and then I spent hours more trying to crack open these hidden jewels. My mother often yelled at me for all the rocks in my pockets. They would ding the dryer when she washed them.

Contact Info:

  • Website: www.doraelia.com
  • Phone: 4323865989
  • Email: ruizdoraelia@gmail.com
  • Instagram: doraeliaruiz

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. pete ruiz

    February 28, 2018 at 19:57

    Thats my baby. I remember her looking for rocks, hours at a time. I used to think strange obsession.

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