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Ricardo Ruiz

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I was born in December 1958, in Corpus Christi, Texas, where I was raised and where I continue to make my home. My father, Jose Benavides Ruiz, worked as a butcher; and with my mother, Ofelia Tamez Ruiz, raised 3 sons and one daughter. My mother remembers me drawing from about the age of 4 and it has been a life-long pursuit. My images usually come to me in those moments between sleep and wakefulness; and it's only later that I'm usually able to decipher them . Sometimes they make no sense to me at all, but the image will beg to be painted. I'm not comfortable asking people to pose for me, so I usually paint my family members from memory whenever I need a human presence. When I was single, I would use myself or my sister and brothers; nowadays, Janie and I are raising three boys of our own: Ricky, Robby and Quintincito (my youngest). They've now become the models for most of the recent work. The majority of my paintings deal with the themes and imagery of family, the cycles of life and death, as well as Mexican-American folklore. When I say Mexican- American, I mean of the South Texas variety, of which I am a life-long member. I rarely, if ever, start with a very detailed sketch; instead, the image forms in my mind fairly complete and I work my way towards that image. That isn't to say I don't allow for changes as the image takes shape. I begin with a neutral ground made of a raw umber/white mix and then begin sketching in black and gray. I then add color as the image takes shape. The rest of the painting is built over time, with layers of color, pretty traditional method. Masotas The Masotas were inspired by visits to a cousins' house when we were kids. My cousin Bebe has an older sister, Esmeralda, and in the sixties she was a real party girl and on any given day of the week, she and her friends would meet at mi Tia Quetas' house, go into Esmeraldas' room and get ready to go out. We'd be playing and you could hear the sounds of music playing and girls chatter through the walls of the tiny home. At around 7 or 8 pm, these neighborhood girls would emerge from Esmeraldas' room with big hair, full make-up and tight dresses. Even we kids knew the one word to describe these babes: Masotas.

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