painter amongst other things
Ellena Ruiz is graduating in the spring of 2021 from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa with a Bachelor's in Fine Art with a focus in painting. Ruiz works in oil and watercolor, drawing from each process' unique material potentials. She builds her abstract paintings like bodies and lived experience, layered and scarred to evoke generational trauma and systematic violence. Ellena harnesses watercolor’s association with intimacy to explore discomfort and unease through figurative narratives. Both threads of her work are derived from direct experience, filtered through queer theory and a Chicanx lens. The color pink is integral to her work because of its long history; prominent in concentration camps in WWII, boosting Mexican tourism, and being claimed by punks and grrrl rioters in the 20th century.