Meet

Rachel Levit Ruiz

Where are you from and where do you reside?
I am from Mexico City and I currently reside in New York.
When did you move to New York?
In 2012 to attend Parsons. I had all the typical art classes, but my “training” began when I was nine years old in Mexico with the wonderful artist Perla Krauze. It was not technical at all, for which I am very grateful. She encouraged her kids to try an endless variety of material and to experiment a lot. I think my work was better then than in art school.
How important is spontaneity in your art?
I often feel an impulse to do a new piece without planning it. I often end up with interesting colors and shapes that I haven’t tried before. That being said, most of my spontaneous pieces end up being a disaster.
What themes or motifs are you consistently drawn to?
I tend to draw a lot of women and that seems to be the most frequent theme in my work, even when I was little. I like to draw animals, plants and furniture.
Are these women as avatars for yourself, or a placeholder for any themes in your work?
The women are not myself or any version of it. They are what they are and it is open to interpretation.
Do you see your works as unique or as part of a series?
All the works start as unique and then I chose one to develop a series. Sometimes I just feel the need to work on unique pieces, because it’s exciting to try new things each time.
Slant
They are what they are and it is open to interpretation. — Rachel Levit Ruiz
What is the most difficult part of the artistic process for you?
Coming up with ideas that I like is the most difficult part. I edit myself a lot, and sometimes it’s hard to see if an idea is good or bad. You find yourself staring at your own work too much and losing sense of it. The hardest part is to remove yourself and allow the work to be at its best form; there is tension between having control and allowing the forms to come out organically.
How do you choose your materials?
I keep it simple. I know what works for me, and that’s usually just sumi ink or gouache.
Where do you find your day-to-day inspiration?
I am lucky that I go back and forth between Mexico City in New York. Both cultures are big sources of inspiration and they find a way into my work.
Do you admire or draw inspiration from any of your peers who are also working now?
I admire my friends who also work on creative fields, I always collaborate with them. For every success or breakthrough I also give credit to my peers. I don’t think I would be as motivated without having people around me that are creative and hardworking. I currently work from a shared studio, which is great because I am with like-minded people who I can trust and ask for advice and help.
Slant
The hardest part is to remove yourself and allow the work to be at its best form; there is tension between having control and allowing the forms to come out organically. — Rachel Levit Ruiz
Is there any artwork on display in your home/studio? Whose is it?
I collect a lot of art from my friends. We tend to do trades and it’s exciting because my collection is growing. I have a huge abstract painting by my friend John Garcia, that’s my favorite piece. I also have paintings by Monica Ramos, Soy Yoon Kim, and Chelsey Pettyjohn.
What’s one of your favorite objects you own? What’s the story?
I have a Chinese pottery disc that was turned into a locket. It has blue face painted on it and I hang it in my room. One of my best friends got it for me on her trip to China.
Do you remember the first work of art that captured your attention?
My mom bought a big book on Saudek when I was little and we were visiting Prague. I was mesmerized, not because of the nudity but the strong emotion of of his body of work. Even though it wasn’t for children I would go through it like I was like reading a picture book.
Are you influenced by any non-visual artist, or any artist that does something completely different than you?
I like to read and I like to that definitely influences me, right now I am reading Gloria Steinem’s “My Life On The Road”.

As for artist that are different, I recently went to see Taryn Simon’s performance at the Park Avenue Armory and had the most incredible and transcendental experience ever.

How has your work developed in the past few years, and how do you see it evolving in the future?
I do a lot of commercial work, but I have never stop pursuing my personal work and that is my priority for the near future. In order to separate the commercial from the personal, I have pursued sculpture and painting more. I want my work to grow in scale and get more experimental.
How do you incorporate chance in your creative process?
I always feel like I am experimenting when I start on something new, but if I left it all to chance my work would look like Rorschach test drawings. At this point I have found my style and it’s not tight but it relies on refinement. I take ideas from previous sketches that live in several of my sketchbooks. I have no memory of how they came to be, I consider that chance.

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