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Mountain Memories

Tamara Ruiz's large-scale mixed-media collages playfully depict wintertime fun in the mountains


Tamara Ruiz

Mixed-media collage on panel

36 x 36 inches


THE ARTIST: Tamara Ruiz

BEST KNOWN FOR: Large-scale mixed-media collages featuring antiquated images on a background of distressed, painted ephemera.

INSPIRATION: "I have always loved the West—the land, the people, the lifestyle. Western imagery, vintage and contemporary, is the subject matter I use consistently in my work."

THE CHANGING WEST: "I'm always searching for old photographs of the West—Native Americans, cowboys, cowgirls, horses, wildlife, landscapes—as well as the staged, studio photos of men and women in Western attire. I want to merge the romanticized West with the authentic West. It saddens me that in 50 years there aren't going to be boxes of vintage photos and handwritten letters at estate sales for someone to buy."

PROCESS: "I love to combine historic ephemera and images with modern aspects of paint and surface design. I sand and distress the background of paper and paint between layers to expose some areas while obscuring others, so I can create my own story with the choices I make."

A GOOD TIME SHARED: "Many of the photos I use show people having a good time or expressing a sense of humor. I like that. I want viewers to feel a connection with—or curiosity about—the person in the photo."

WHAT'S NEXT: In March, Ruiz's work will be included in "Cowgirl Up!" at the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, Arizona, and also in "The Russell: An Exhibition and Sale," at the C. M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Montana.

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