Native New York Artist, Kris Ruhs has created a rare and exceptional composition of imagination and intricate handwork. Each of his artworks embodies a real sense of individuality and expression, taking viewers on a new and colourful journey each time, forcing them to think beyond the boundaries set upon the dimensions of art and sculpture.
Ruhs is traditionally recognized for his unique designs showcased throughout the Milano concept store, 10 Corso Como, revolutionizing the conventional ideas on consumer experiences and visual merchandising. However, his gift for creativity and mastery of skill does not stop there.
Kris has hand-built his own jewelry line and form of art wear. He conceived a golden garden using an array of hanging flowers and lights. Ruhs also fires his own crafted ceramics, constructs innovative furniture whilst having also illustrated for high profile editorial magazines, such as Italian Vogue.
To gain a closer look at the inspirations and personal concepts behind his multiplicity of creations, MiND took part in an exclusive interview with the Milan-based artist in time for the opening of his latest exhibition, ‘LIQUID WALLS BROKEN FOREST by Kris Ruhs’ for Salone Del Mobile.
What inspires/influences you in your artwork? How do these inspirations translate into your work? – Culture, background, daily life, imagination, people.
KRIS RUHS: Well, really, everything inspires me. Challenges me. I work from exploring what is present. I deal with the space I enter. So each time I see something it feeds my curiosity and imagination. To find new techniques that will release other possibilities influences some of my choices. What I can discover. I work a lot with found materials, things people have thrown away that they don’t see any further value in. I think, “What can I use to open this material up again?” Be able to have people see something again, be excited again by something, because I have re-imagined it.
Being an artist, what is your personal outlook on life?
KRIS RUHS: My outlook on life is quite congenial. I am fortunate that I can be an artist and do what I do – explore my own fantasies and have people enjoy and witness my process.
What role does art have in society?
KRIS RUHS: I guess it would depend on who is defining art and society, no? Art has a very important role in everything and should be seen in everything. This is a serious question today. Honouring the presence of art beyond the museum.
Do you believe art can be an inspiration in the retail industry and environments?
KRIS RUHS: Art is certainly the best communicating tool we have ever come up with. Art always speaks to us and connects us to our daily lives and creates a new dialogue. Whether the art carries inspiration, imagination and culture – it is up to the artist.
What is the conceptual content of your artwork? What word would you use to describe your work?
KRIS RUHS: Quite simple really. I work with light and process as the base of all my work, in all mediums.
What piece of your artwork do you most identify with or defines you as an artist?
KRIS RUHS: I do not mean disrespect here, but the piece I am involved with now. My work comes from my work. The process of making is ongoing and it is in the making that the art lives. This is true, no matter what the medium or the final result.
What would you like achieve/ make people feel when they view your artwork?
KRIS RUHS: I want people to walk into the work; have it be an open door to their imagination, not mine; experience their reactions to the work and in the first person.
I am always surprised watching people reading the program at a music concert. Is that going to tell you how to hear? I want people to come and see; get some pleasure from seeing; enjoy what they see. I want people to feel what they feel from it, not what I feel from it. You would be surprised how difficult this is for some people to do. Feel what they feel. You can’t ever know what I feel.
What do you believe creates a value in art? Aesthetic, craftsmanship, the gallery, relevance to the market, reputation etc.?
KRIS RUHS: For the last century we liked modernism; machine made; “scientific”, geometric ideas. Now, I think there’s a return to, not a primitive, but a primary relationship between art and the use of hand engagement in the process of making, like Matisse’s great cut outs. So value might depend on who is doing the “making” now and seeing the “hand” in it.
How do you see art evolving?
KRIS RUHS: Art will always show you where it begins. I find that my work is my best teacher, to know where to go next and to stay in contact with the process. Whether that process is evolving, or cyclical, moving up or down or sideways – I cannot tell you, I just know it is important to stay with it.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
KRIS RUHS: From my mother when she saw my grades. “You’d better try the arts.”