Anna Ruiz is a Catalonian born South London based printmaker and print designer, designing prints for leading fashion designers including Jonathan Saunders. With a graphic design and textiles background, her practise explores dream-like subjects, the play between the imaginary and the real. We catch up with her to ask about her aesthetic and inspirations, how she markets herself and how she’s navigating the pandemic.
Tell us about your work and your aesthetic
My work sits in a place between the imaginary and real. I was trained as a Graphic Designer but I have always worked in textiles. I feel there is a bit of both in my work. There is a certain graphicality to the prints in counterpoise to the initial drawing and concept of the image that I believe comes from my graphic design background. At the same time in most of my prints there is an element that repeats, creating a kind of pattern, unwittingly influenced by the textile’s world.
Who or what inspires you?
People. I am a big observer, many times I find myself staring at people without even realising. I am very interested in human behaviour and the human psyche. My work takes a lot of inspiration from my own dreams and the language of the unconscious. The symbolism of myths and fairy tales is something I have been researching for a while. I feel very excited about it because I believe it gives us quite a few clues towards a better understanding of certain human patterns and behaviour.
You’ve recently left a full time job and started freelancing. What sort of work have you been creating as a freelance designer maker so far?
I split my time between my print designer role for fashion, creating prints and graphics for different brands and my true passion, illustration and printmaking.
Is there any such thing as a typical client for you?
I don’t think there is a typical client in my area of expertise. Each client has its own needs whether it’s in the nature of the project, in the aesthetics or intention of the brief. Each creative process is always unique.
Do you still have time to create your own print collections too?
At the moment I do, in fact it is the reason why I left my full time job. So I could invest more time in my art practice.
You’ve lived in Spain and London over the last 20 years. What role has your environment played in your work?
I believe some environments invite you to go inwards, to reflect upon yourself and life, towards a more meditative, contemplative state rather than an active one and more of a physical maker or creator. But I don’t think it’s only the environment that plays that role. There are so many other factors that can influence one’s work. My time in Spain allowed me more time for introspection and I feel as a result now, back in London, I’m being more proactive about my personal work.
How do you market yourself?
Being clear about my identity and artistic voice. I think it’s important to be genuine and stick to what moves me and I feel represents me. I am sharing my thoughts, creative process and work through IG and trying to be more present in the printmakers community. I have recently participated in a print exchange with a print studio from Manchester. I am also building a new website to showcase my work and a shop to sell my prints, starting with an Etsy shop for now.
There are obviously less face to face events and fairs this year. What other ways are you planning on selling your work?
I’m working on opening my online shop, starting with an Etsy shop and planning to switch to my own online shop in the new year. Joining online markets and other platforms is something I am looking into and it feels quite exciting apart from taking part in some actual markets too, always complying with the social distancing rules.
What’s next for you?
Next is now. I’m going to keep exploring and producing my personal work and let it take me further into the practice and understanding of the nature and purpose of this work. In less conceptual terms, the next thing I’m looking into is to create a workshop so I can share my practise with others.