Meet the Artist: Alejandro “Revel” Ruiz
Alejandro Ruiz, a live speed artist that paints on inverted cardboard boxes, is one of Spirit Media’s signature artists. Meet the artist, and be part of the “Revel-ation” this October at ArtOcala, ArtTampa, and ArtOrlando.
Alejandro Ruiz was a painter from a young age. In high school, he took Advanced Placement art classes and even considered going to the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia. But something stopped him.
“Looking back, it was fear, doubt, and insecurity holding me back,” Ruiz says.
Instead, he graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in computer science and spent four years working as a software engineer for Numera. It was a good job. He even had his own office.
“But I wasn’t satisfied,” he recalls. “I always felt like there was something missing. I felt like I was without purpose, just drifting along.”
Struggling with depression, Ruiz picked up his paintbrush again and started venting through art. Around the same time, he started going to church and encountered the love of God.
“That’s what changed me forever,” Ruiz says. “That’s when I really started to paint.”
Ruiz left his full-time job in 2016 and is now the principal and owner of Revel Artist, where he specializes in live art performances, specifically speed paintings at corporate, private, and nonprofit events.
I sat down with Ruiz to discuss his art, his process, and why he thinks all artists are — or at least should be — entrepreneurs.
Alice Collier: If you had to describe your art to someone who cannot see it, what would you say?
Alejandro Ruiz: I have two art styles: I have more of a slow painting process I do on canvas that takes weeks. And then I have live art performances that take five minutes. They’re two totally different styles.
My works on canvas are very lively and vivid representations of love, peace, and joy. I try to capture all those things in my art, as well as the things we go through in life.
My live art is very graphic. There’s lots of contrast, almost like pop art.
AC: In your live art performances, you paint on upside-down cardboard boxes. How did that come to be your style?
AR: When I started painting again, I started posting them on Instagram. I didn’t have a big following, but I had a lot of friends from high school and college who liked my work. Someone saw one of my sketches and asked me to come paint live. I took a leap of faith and said yes, but I had no idea what I was doing. I was painting as a hobby. I’d never bought a canvas before. I’d never built a canvas. And when I went to go buy a large canvas for live painting, I couldn’t find one.
So I went to Home Depot and bought a bunch of cardboard boxes. I stacked them up in rows of three so that I formed a perfect square. I painted one side black, and then I taped them all together. It formed a huge painting surface made out of cardboard boxes.
I dragged this huge thing on stage — I was so nervous — and I started painting on these boxes. Once I was done, I flipped it over. Jesus flipped my life upside-down, so that’s what I do with my art.
AC: Which tools or material could you not create without?
AR: No. 1 is my relationship with God. Then, obviously, my paint brushes. And I love Golden Artist Colors. That’s pretty much it. My brushes and my colors.
AC: Describe your day when you are creating a new work.
AR: When I have a free day, I’ll wake up really early. I’ll put on some music. I love to listen to really calm, chill music. I really love this band called Hillsong Worship.
I’m a graphic designer by nature, so I like to visualize what I’m working on before I paint it. I’ll go into Photoshop and come up with a concept using a collage of images. I’ll translate that on the canvas. I sketch it out first, and then I paint over that.
AC: What do you hope viewers experience from viewing your work?
AR: I hope they experience love and peace and joy. I like to inspire people. That’s my goal — to inspire others to do things that will impact the world around them for the better. I want to uplift people who don’t think they’re good enough or who are in a bad place. I want to uplift them.
AC: Not all entrepreneurs are artists, but all artists are entrepreneurs. Would you agree with that statement? Why or why not?
AR: I think that’s true. By nature, an artist has to be an entrepreneur. We’re branding a product: us. I have artist friends who aren’t the best artists, but they know how to brand and market themselves — and they’re really successful. It’s important to know your audience. Instagram
really helps me with that. That’s where a lot of my audience base is. I’m trying to build a following through that platform.
AC: Why do you want to be part of Spirit Media’s upcoming art experiences?
AR: I think it’s an amazing opportunity to showcase my performance art and to brand myself and get to know the art community locally. I’m really looking forward to it.
AC: What advice do you have for aspiring artists?
AR: Start with what you have, with what’s in front of you. Use what you have. You never know what you’re capable of if you actually try.
To learn more about Ruiz and to see more of his work, visit revelartist.com.