I have to admit it. When I first saw Dallas-based (we're practically neighbors!) contemporary figurative oil painter Eli Ruhala's work, I didn't get it. His broad-stroked portraits on medicine cabinets, mirrors and pillow cases - while strikingly beautiful and disarmingly personal - didn't make sense to me. And then I read the stories behind them. Taking a stroll through Eli's Instagram page (@ruhala_arts) is like watching a coming-of-age film. Eli's story unfolds before you through his art. He opens himself up to you, giving you a glimpse inside his head, leaving you feeling a bit like an eavesdropper but unable to resist wanting more. Cool hues bring on feelings of an oncoming storm...or perhaps one that has just passed. At times, his themes make you feel sad and lonely. Other times, they bring about feelings of calm and hope. His story is just beginning. I won't give it away. You'll just have to check it out for yourself. I look forward to following him and watching him grow throughout what I'm sure will be a fruitful art career and a happy life. To purchase his art, contact him through Instagram or visit the galleries in which his art is currently being shown.
Q: Who are your favorite artists? A: Favorite artists are Felix Gonzales-Torres, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schile, and Jenny Seville
Q: What's your preferred medium and why? What are the best and worst things about working with this medium? A: Preferred medium is Oil Paint because it has such a diverse arrangement of application. Oils can be thinned to act like watercolors or applied thick to create texture and depth. One of the best and worst factors of oil is the time required for the medium to dry. It’s slow drying process allows for one to rework an area to their content bust can also create a gap of time in between stages of a painting.
Q: What's your trademark? A: My Trademark is the heavy use of blues in my figurative paintings. It pushes contrast between the warm highlights and cold shadows that ultimately create form.
Q: How has your style changed over the years? A: As of recently the work I’ve been doing has changed drastically. For years I had painted on flat surfaces such as panel and canvas, but my work has shifted toward viewer interaction. Now most of my paintings are done on domestic objects to further a relationship with the viewer.
Q: What's the best advice you've ever received? A: The best advice I had ever received came from my high school art teacher. He told me to pursue what I was passionate in and dissuaded me from going into a field of work that I would not enjoy just for financial reasons.