Artist, activist and optimist are three words to describe the creative force that is Daiana Ruiz. The Buenos Aires-based illustrator uses her creative work as a platform for progression and change.
She’s thinking about women, who they are, and how they are seen. She’s thinking about their history, their long-overdue fight for equality and their daily struggle. She’s responding to the world we live in – and her protagonists are fiercely bold and utterly authentic in a way which resonates for women of all ages.
Responding to the historical lack of authentic representations of women in the media, Ruiz is focused on expanding beauty ideals in a myriad of ways. Her characters stand boldly, confronting the viewer with their direct gaze. She compliments this with intense colours and abstract forms reminiscent of Hockney and Matisse. With an impressive list of international clients and global exhibitions, it’s hard to believe Ruiz has only been working professionally for four years. Her work has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Vogue and Lenny Letter and she’s collaborated with Netflix, Apple, MTV and Vice.
To change conversations in culture and society, artists need to use their tools to create space for progression. We look to artists to both reflect reality and show us possibilities for the future. Ruiz is part of a new generation seeking change through creativity. She’s fearless, determined and unstoppable.
On Discovering Illustration
I dreamed of being an illustrator since I was a child. Through the years, I’ve developed little by little, trying different approaches and mixing techniques. I live in the city and love the buzz and energy, the lights at night and the music. My work focuses on representing strong women living in urban scenes.
Some of my biggest influences come from fashion. I think of it as an art form that allows us to design and express ourselves. In many ways, we can track what we are going through during specific times of our lives through the things that we wear.
On Female Empowerment
As a woman, I find the lack of representation of all types of women really harmful. That’s why I focus my energy and work on representing who we really are. I think we are going through a new stage of women’s liberation right now and I am happy to be part of this movement. That is my focus, and I get strength from fighting this important fight for equality. I think every woman has felt a kind of oppression at some point in their life, either gender wage differences, religious persecution, racial disparity or social oppression. I like to represent those women who stand up to injustice. I want to support my community, and for me, a strong woman is a free woman.
On Creative Process
Most of the time, it starts with an impulse. A trigger of inspiration. Then I spend time drawing line sketches. I can sketch for days before committing to a final image. I then colour the design using Photoshop and my Wacom tablet. I have recently started experimenting with animation. I like loops and the idea that something will be moving forever.
On the Creative Community
There’s a lot of great illustrators and designers from Argentina. Unfortunately, in Argentina, we are going through a difficult time. Our economy is being harmed by political forces which are affecting our creative community and culture.
On the Challenges of being Freelance
I must be very organized, so I don’t skip lunch.