Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachel Rubenstein.
Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
My passion for art came just as I was finishing high school and had signed a full ride athletic scholarship to play volleyball in college. I sold my first two paintings around the same time and it gave me the confidence to consider art as a career. Shortly after freshman year, I quit volleyball, transferred to Pepperdine and dove into the world of art. It was around this time I started to feel different. A series of unfortunate events catapulted me into a new phase life: I got mono, I had a stalker, I broke out in horrible, painful acne, there were a couple of bad breakups, and then was placed on disciplinary probation and wasn’t able to study abroad as I planned. It felt like one thing after another. The years following graduation started to get grimmer and grimmer. In 2010, I was diagnosed with clinical depression. After giving several ill-fitting corporate jobs a chance, I kept going back to painting. And I realized it was there my heart and balance were. I had to learn that being an artist meant practicing art every day, committing to it, and not waiting around for inspiration to hit. Flash to ten years later and I’ve sold over 100 paintings on my own.
Please tell us about your art.
Growing up in Southern California, there has never been a lack of visual inspiration. It’s almost nauseating how beautiful a day on the west coast can be. I think that’s why my work has turned into these delicately-abstracted nature scapes. I torture, manipulate, and destroy the canvas until it’s practically transparent in certain areas. I’m interested in what’s underneath the surface. The last 10 years I’ve been liberating myself and accepting myself for what I believe and the way I want to live life. My artistic practice is an outward expression of this. There’s been a lot of talk about synesthesia amongst artists (a neurological condition in which one experiences multiple sensory perceptions at once – like hearing the color purple). I found out about synesthesia in 2012 and I broke down in tears because I thought everyone was like this – we never talk about our perceptions because we all assume we are taking in the world the same way. Having a strong synesthetic mind can be a blessing and a hindrance, as most things are in life. However, with my sensitivities, I can experience things richly and hold up a mirror so someone without the condition can see a reflection into what it’s like. I think if you spend time in front of my work, you’ll feel the heaviness and the pain but also the beauty of perseverance. Maybe you’ll even hear purple!
What do you think about conditions for artists today? Has life become easier or harder for artists in recent years? What can cities like ours do to encourage and help art and artists thrive?
I think it’s equally as hard as it is easy for artists today. Not only is it an emotional process that can take its toll, but support for the arts in a world with limitlessness options for connection and distraction can be challenging. If you have a strategy, I think this world can be an artist’s playground. The accessibility to art supplies, the accessibility to other artists, the multiple platforms for getting your art out in the world – it’s all out there waiting for you if you put in the work. At times I have been completely overwhelmed and I dip into a state of paralysis. You know the feeling. The negative thinking starts and then you’ve found yourself completely isolated, alone, depressed, and slipping down a bottomless spiral. But what gets me out of the spiral every time is the connection with other artists. Even a phone call or two can do the trick. So thank you VoyageLA for letting me share some of my stories. I hope I’ve encouraged someone or created a connection!
How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
I’m very excited to announce that I am showing and working out of a new space called “The Galerie” in Westwood Village (1073 Glendon Ave, Los Angeles). It’s open to the public Feb 18th-28th Tuesdays through Sundays 1-8pm. I’m showcasing 13 paintings I created while living in New York this past year. Next door to The Galerie is the restaurant Fellow, where I have seven paintings on display. You can view my work on Instagram @rachelannerubenstein or visit my website to inquire about purchasing a painting www.rachelannerubenstein.com
- Website: www.rachelannerubenstein.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: @rachelannerubenstein
Photos by Gerald Jacques, Michael Raymond Smith, and Ed Glendinning