Joe M. Ruiz, figure painting with animals

The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious – the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.
Albert Einstein

I was born in 1968 in Florence, Arizona, and my formative years were spent playing in the Sonora desert with my two brothers. Mesquite tress, cactus, roadrunners, snakes and lizards were our constant companions. Growing up in a copper mining town of central Arizona, art was never seen as a viable option for a livelihood. Boys and men were expected to grow up sturdy, strong and determined to get into the mines. Paradoxically, many in my family had a preternatural disposition toward drawing and painting, but I was one of the few who took to it with the type of determination necessary to make it more than a curiosity.

Since I was never taught that my skills with a pencil were anything other than childish pursuits, it wasnt until High School that I realized my skills could be turned into a career. I was blessed with some very supportive and encouraging teachers in Tucson, Arizona where I went to High School. After High School I studied art at Santa Barbara Community College and eventually the San Francisco Art Institute. It was during my time in college that I learned the rudiments of oil painting which is my media of choice to this day.

In San Francisco I met the woman who would eventually be my wife, and our first child was born in 2001. The desire to find a healthier environment in which to raise our family led us to move over 2,700-miles to Georgia. My family and I have settled into a comfortable life in Georgia. With a son, a daughter, a cat and a dog we have a full house.

Most recently Ive begun painting figures again and have relished the process. Even though the new work is very different from the landscapes Ive been painting for years, I dont see any disassociation between the two. On the contrary, I believe they will inform each other in unexpected ways and I see myself going back and forth between the genres as my work changes and evolves. The pursuit of artistic achievement for me is a journey or a path (maybe a Tao) not a destination. The evolution of my art over a lifetime continues to be a fascinating process; even typical frustrations can lead to new insights. Like being a husband or father, being an artist is such a rewarding part of the human experience that I look forward to whats around the next bend in the path.
Joe M. Ruiz
June 28, 2014

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