UNIVERSITY EDUCATION – Post Graduate Studies at the Royal Collage of Art – England

London, England

Doraelia Ruiz
Personal Biography

Growing up in a poor family played a huge role on my emotional psyche. I was often told I couldn’t ever go to a school like Brown. I don’t believe people told me that out of cruelty, but more out of just how they believed the world was structured. From the start I was an underdog, and my art reflects that.

My life has been built on high wire tensions of disparities between the two vastly different worlds I live between. I live somewhere between illusions of minority success and harsh realities of not having a trust-fund in an elite world. There is always a cognitive dissonance between me and whatever reality I am experiencing in that moment.

Painting is my one refuge and savior from this unstable world. Painting is where I can combine the vastly different worlds and lives I live. In my studio practice, I spend considerable time studying the fragment, or the broken pieces. I am fascinated with deconstruction because I find it to be the essential and often disregarded component of construction.

I think when we examine things once they are taken apart, we learn new things about them and we understand them in a much more complex way than when we just see the perfect assemblage. I believe that the true nature of something lies in its components, or how it is when it’s broken. When you go through a tragedy with someone or you see someone at their most broken, then you know them far better than when you just know the external image they project to the world. I am in love with that type of intimacy, vulnerability, and violence.

I believe my personal experiences are mirrored in this emotional volatility of the broken, the fragmented, and the lost in limbo. I also believe currently in America a similar type of deconstruction is happening on what it means to be an “American”. Our identity and collective history is changing so rapidly, becoming so incredibly muddled, that currently all we see is a landscape of devastation and unassembled messes. Really though, this is the crucial component of construction; of us building our new home. We are evolving so rapidly and our culture is a varied myriad of experiences, colors, and histories that clash in the most enormously beautiful ways. Because of this there is a remarkable emotional volatility in the American landscape of identity right now that is yearning to be expressed.
I am interested in the history of our image, the depiction and representation of being categorized and documented, how documentation in the modern world alienates or aligns us; or does both simultaneously. I believe we are all displaced and that new America dialogue deserves to be shared with other cultures. As I continue merging digital paintings with hand paintings, my works are taking on complicated “lineages”. A single painting could be digitalized, edited, reprinted, and repainted hundreds of times. Over time I produce many varied and different works that can all be traced back to the first painting. By replicating and deconstructing our messy experiences in what it means to be “American”, what can we learn about who we are?

At the Royal College I want to investigate this identity crisis further and see how they align or disalign with the current contemporary visage of the U.K. I want my work to further clash, not just against itself and it’s diverging identities, but now against a new cultural environment. What happens when an artist like me, making the work I do, comes to the U.K.? I am dying to see that disassemblage compose itself on the canvas.

After coming so close to achieve the practically unachievable UK Fulbright (that has a 2% acceptance rate) only to be cut in the final round, I had entirely given up on attending the Royal College. It feels amazing to now be granted this opportunity by your organization. The story itself truly highlights how my world is made up of huge disparities and inevitably, incredible moments and opportunities like this. Thank you so much.


Post-Doctorate Study in Printmaking at the Royal College of Art in England for: 
Doraelia Ruiz, USA, Printmaking

As a Inti Raymi grant recipient I plan to work with the distinguished faculty at the Royal College of Art in the Printmaking Department in a unique program called the “Post Experience Programme”. The Royal College PEP program is a unique type of Post Doctorate but for the arts. At the Royal College I am allowed the freedom to undergo an investigative project using a medium outside my typical repertoire. For this project I am branching outside my focus as a painter and investigating the realm of printmaking. For my project I want to merge the world of digital printmaking and lithograph series, with the traditional world of painting.

During the three-month full-time stay at the Royal College, I will work closely with distinguished faculty such as Head of Printmaking Jo Stockam, and graduate students in creating a discourse about my current work and dialoguing with students from around the world about their work. My study there will end with a show organized by the Royal College showcasing the work I’ve pursued in my tenure there.

Currently, in the art world there is a massive divide between the US Art world and that of Europe. Less than a hundred years ago, it was thought that to be an artist you had to move to Europe but with the shift that followed WWII when many artists were pushed out of their war-torn homes and were forced to find refuge in the US, the current landscape for the arts found its new home here in America.

It was not too long after the artists relocated here that so did the art gallerists, managers, collectors, and the like. Currently we have a flourishing art market and art collection that can rival any country in the world. Truly right now we have created a Renaissance in America for the arts.

Often it’s spoken that the art meccas of the world are LA, New York, and London. I wonder, how often do these worlds collide? I believe that with so much incredible history in the UK when it comes to arts, and with a still dynamic art world, we would be amiss to not enrich the dialogue between American art and European art as it continues to evolve today.

Today is especially a crucial time for our worlds to collide. With technology advancing globalization, we are closer than ever to our friends across the pond, and yet our different art dialogues continue to create dissonance.

Often when we hear of an artist, we hear first “this is an LA-based painter” and then that summarizes both the artist and their work. How often do we hear about internationally trained artists who are trying to create a cross-disciplinary, cross-cultural, and cross-nationality dialogue? Why are artists relegated to one faction of the vast immense art world? Why are the spokespeople for these regions they inhabit not branching out and creating an enriched dialogue on a more global perspective? Very often limited funds, limited exposure, and limited time are inhibitors that unfortunately relegate the art world into “art cities” and localized “art niches”.

Just like I believe the future of the art world will incorporate more multi-faceted dialogues, I believe the future of art itself and painting specifically will continue to use a more multi-faceted approach. We already have this in some respects with collage and mixed media, but I think this will evolve further. Even die-hard painter, David Hockney, for instance is now producing solely digitally based “paintings”. These dynamics are all attributed to our modern changes in technology, and how easier it is becoming to cross divides, rather cultural or disciplinary, in the click of a button.

By 2016 I will have finished my MFA at Claremont Graduate University. Although my time here was invaluable at creating a foundation for my career, I have longed for a more extensive printmaking program that would allow the dialogue in my studio to advance. I am interested in the history of an image, the depiction and representation of being categorized and documented, how documentation in the modern world alienates or aligns us; or does both simultaneously. I believe printmaking allows an enriched dialogue about experience and how that translates into our collaborative history as a species. I believe when I pair that cross-disciplines with cross-cultural dialogues, there will be a remarkable series that will emerge.

Currently in my studio I have taken photographs of real paintings in my studio and uploaded these slides into a digital painting program. Once in the digital realm, I begin to “break” the image apart using a wide array of programming tools. The aim is to dissect and examine what compositional elements of each painting contribute to a dynamic image and it’s ultimate manifestation.

I am playing with different ways I can “mark” or “alter” it using different mediums and tools, even digital. I am looking at an image not for what it is, but what it could be in a different context or environment. Aren’t we all different in different contexts and environments? Isn’t a lithograph different from its first print to its last?

When you abstract elements from one origin and place it in another, you really realize how otherworldly they are. These paintings become alienated in their own space. I force acrylic and digital paint mesh, even though they are strangers to each other and in direct competition with the other. Their tension creates a wonderful violence that leaves its mark on the new image they jointly create. Their strengths are in their vices and there is great power in that.

Artist Samara Golden described my work as slowly killing a piece, resurrecting it, killing it again, and resurrecting again; like a surgeon finding the fine line between life and death. Indeed when I play with the relationship between a painting, its own photographical representation, and then alter it through a third dimension, I am playing with its spirit and origin. Is it a painting? Is it a photograph? Is it a print or a fictional representation of itself?

When I am done altering the image, I print them out on canvas and physically paint over them again. The digital and hand processes represent the tension between the mechanical, the impersonal, and the hard labor of human physicality, mirroring the tensions between the life and death of traditional painting in a modern world itself.

At the Royal College of Art I want to heighten this dialogue and pair it with the new skills and new mediums I will learn under the tutorship of the best artists in the world, including Jo Stockam, the Head of the Printmaking department at the Royal College. I believe there is no better program in the world for this pursuit. I intend of spending the semester making several editions of pieces that will have one base origin, and be altered over time and experience. The pieces will evolve and transfer their experiences from one generation to the next. In doing so I am studying the human experience, my own experiences, our collective experiences of how we evolve from one moment to the next, one instance to another, one generation to another.

I have long passionately loved the Royal College and the independence it fosters with its students. I long to study at the same university where Tracey Emin unapologetically and transgressively confronted class culture in the European art world. I thrive in that sort of environment and believe I would create profound work at this institution. I believe the otherworldliness of my experience in direct clash with the Royal College, would create dynamically confrontational and beautifully violent work.

Project Details

Start Date: September 2016

Completion Date: December 2016

Funded so far: $25,000 USD

Total Project: $25,000 USD

Lives Affected: 1


Team Members