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Rising Stars: Meet Ruth Torres

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ruth Torres.

Ruth, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I am a mixed media artist from Los Angeles, California. My main form of expression is and always has been Experimental Art. My mission is to make a difference in the way we see fine art, including abstract art, by redefining what it is and who it is for. I want to continue the work of artists before me who have fought for inclusion in the arts. I am currently working on a video piece called Vivir where water and body movement are intertwined. In 2018, I had my first performance and photography exhibition Tainted Truth presented by Level Ground, an award-winning artist collective and production incubator run by Black, Brown and Queer artists in Los Angeles.

While working on this residency program, I was also working with MAC cosmetics where my makeup artistry was given the space to grow and strengthen. When the pandemic happened, my artistry had to shape-shift in order to continue flowing forward. I took the organizational skills I learned at MAC and began to build Ruthintruth as an independent entity AND as a collaborative movement where artists of color can come together and create. Because of these collaborations, I have gotten the opportunity to be featured in publications such as Paper, Fender, Vans, and Office, as well as music videos like Olivia Rodrigo’s “Traitor” and Coi Larei’s latest TikTok campaign. Most recently, I have been stepping into the world of short films, having my work seen in projects like Calabaza (LALIFF 2022), TOFU (Tribeca 2022) and Mija (Sundance).

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Something that consistently helps me stay grounded during moments of struggle is to remind myself why I do this in the first place. I don’t want to lose sight of my purpose in the midst of hardship. One of the biggest challenges that I and many other independent artists face is MONEY. I had to learn how to speak up for myself and to advocate for fair pay. I’ve come to understand the value of my time and the value I bring to a set by learning what my strengths and weaknesses are, and not being afraid to learn from my mistakes. Similarly, learning how to prioritize my mental health has been a struggle in my journey. Living my truth means admitting that mental health challenges come in waves, and I have to listen to my mind and body in order to have a healthy relationship with myself. I believe that mental health has a hold on a lot of artists because of the damaging demands of our society’s current work ethic. I want to be able to normalize having conversations around the internal challenges of being a full-time creative. Learning to recognize these challenges and not run in the opposite direction. I want to be an example for today’s generation of creatives by refusing to have shame around giving our minds and bodies the rest they deserve. More than ever we continue to see the ripple effects of a damaging work-life balance, and I have found that art makes me feel re-integrated with my body.

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
First and foremost, I am an experimental artist. In addition, I have been a makeup artist for over ten years. As an experimental artist, my mission is to tell stories through narratives centered around the body. As an artist, I specialize in telling community stories, especially the stories of my community. In my upcoming piece Vivir, I use story and symbolism to celebrate fat bodies taking up space. Specifically, water symbolizes flow and the struggle and acceptance of my body. My hope is to inspire audiences and to also give the viewer a moment to analyze and think critically about the ways shame continues to be a limitation in our everyday lives.

As a makeup artist, I am proud to have worked for MAC Cosmetics. I am proud of the business and career management skills I gained there because they allowed me to transition towards a journey as an independent artist. Artistically, working at MAC solidified my love for editorial makeup, which later opened up the opportunity to begin working in music videos, magazines and short films.

I love creating looks that tell a story, and I love that makeup artistry is always about collaboration. It’s about bringing a vision to life through a team effort, and that in itself is an art. Because I am both a performing artist and work alongside talent who are in front of the camera, there is a duality that exists in my artistry that sets me apart and gives me the confidence for any opportunity that comes my way.

What would you say have been one of the most important lessons you’ve learned?
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned along my journey as an artist is to not be afraid of the unknown. As an artist, I have found myself facing many fears. But I have learned it is normal to have setbacks or periods of time in your artistry where you need to give yourself the time and space for internal discovery before moving forward. Honoring the things that need to take place for growth and trusting the process. I have also learned to not be afraid of rejection. It is possible to learn from each project and take on what comes next with confidence. Learning to accept rejection, in general, is a significant step not just for creatives but for anyone in any industry. Learning that “No” can sometimes be a good thing. Of course, it doesn’t mean that I don’t find myself frustrated and sad at times, but I have learned to accept the lessons without getting defensive or fighting them. When I learn to surrender to rejection, I find that I am letting go and giving in to the vulnerability of a new creative endeavor. By surrounding myself with other creatives as a support system, together we embrace the realization that our art is not just a phase but it is our life’s work.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
1. Ethan Coverstone 2. Self Portraits – Ruth Torres 3. Jasmine Valenzuela & Lola Isabel Gonzales 4. Totem Magazine 5. Cosmica 6. Calabaza 2022

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