The work of D.Ruiz and V.Polo is created via a collaboration that started in 2020. Through a combination of varying mediums into a digital format, Ruiz & Polo create unique, one-off prints that offer a fluid, tangible experience to their audience. Working within the digital medium allows their process to include experimentation with aesthetic decisions through quick assemblage and drafting. The compositions are then refined through a slower process of contemplation, reflection, discussion and selection. The work strives to bridge the fluidity of contemporary media with the foundations of a two-dimensional, art historical canon, as their completed digital prints communicate with the pictorial traditions of an object on a wall.
Both Ruiz and Polo had creative practices before their collaboration. V.Polo has a background in graphic design and documentary photography; he would draw and paint in his own time. Ruiz also had experience with photography and has written works for theatre. They met, however, in a professional context: Ruiz is a Jungian analyst and was giving a conference in psychology that Polo attended. They became friends and collaborators via a profound sympathetic understanding, transferred through an impression that they were two old souls, recognizing one another. The profundity of these souls encountering is symbolized in their work; a dynamic, playful expression is transmuted through bold rendering and joyful color theory.
In the digital medium, Ruiz & Polo found a melding of their experience within formats that they find exciting: ‘screen art and framed physical work, photography and digital retouching, brush and photoshop, paint tubes and colors RGB, which are then converted to CMYK.’ Their medium and process also allows for them to draw from their influences, which range from psychoanalytic theory, such as the Jungian concept of ‘the shadow’, to art historical movements, including Abstract Impressionism and Pop Art. Specifically, the collaborators name artists such as Andy Warhol and David Hockney, Joan Miró and Henri Matisse as influences, and a studied, common thread between them is reflected in their practice, via a rejection of conventional depth of field and an accessible, yet complex, conveyance of subject matter.
The scale of their finished works is substantial in size – up to 2 by 1.5 meters in some works – and they have ambitions to work in even larger formats. To quote Ruiz&Polo directly: ‘We want to make works whose first impact is aesthetic and subsequently produce a reflection through the ambiguity of the images, for which necessarily the viewer must also be a co-creator of what he is perceiving.’
Their use of color is derived not only from decisions around the successful aesthetic qualities of their compositions, but also from context. A joyousness is rooted in their collaboration and their great sense of accomplishment for producing work during the difficult era of the pandemic. This joyousness is reflected within a depth of exuberance in the layering, as well as variety of tone. Drawing from influences in Post Modern and Surrealist movements, the artists seek a visual language that expresses a sense of vitality and intuitive openness, one that contrasts starkly with the pessimism and cynicism of the current times.
The visual language that Ruiz & Polo articulate is supported by the spaces where their perspectives intersect, as well as where their life experiences and education divert.
Ruiz’s subjective experience is grounded in his extensive credentials in psychological therapy and Jungian analysis. Yet, his creative impulse is also informed by a festive vitality within him, and a sense of intuitive expansion. Polo’s deep introspection, connected to a transcendental navigation through the world, is balanced by the creative yet pragmatic professions of graphic design and photography. To quote them in regards to their alignment, in parallel or in contrast: ‘In some way each of us is the reverse of the other. In our personal trajectories, we have had to develop awareness of “the other”, to leave ourselves to empathize with those who suffer, and that has made us need to laugh and get emotional.’
In their manifesto, a generosity in the work’s intent is conveyed. The work seeks out an identification of commonality in the viewer: an appeal to a positive outlook and subtle irony in response to social constructs and standards. This identification of commonality is empathetic of a need for release; an engagement with a lightness that shifts, even momentarily, from subjective modes of coherence.