#CreativeImpact with Luis Ruiz

Project 1324 is hyped to introduce the launch of #CreativeImpact — a new series spotlighting emerging artists and their inspirations while designing for social impact.

19-year-old Mexican artist Luis Ruiz, more commonly known as @literaluis on Instagram, is kicking us off. Luis is a multi-dimensional illustrator using colors and creativity to tackle the existing social canvas. Issues he’s addressing in this series include gender equality, HIV awareness and queer identity.

Always being influenced by caricatures and the nostalgia of the 80’s, I enjoy playing around with color blocking when portraying myself and the characters that I create through “old school” illustration techniques. As a fanatic of constant change and innovation, I intend to showcase diverse and rich communities through the merger of art and technology across my illustration work. Despite my ever-shifting style, there are recurring traits in all of the characters that I create because there’s a part of me that is portrayed in them. Empathy, solidarity and self-empowerment are core values that I intend to share with all kinds of youth from all over the world in order to become a more supportive and successful generation.


Gender Bending
The bravery, creativity and beauty that many androgynous individuals possess is unfortunately overshadowed by the lack of inclusion of all kinds of ethnicities within mainstream media. By creating characters based from the Club Kid subculture of the early 90’s, all kinds of shapes, sizes and colors are celebrated and encouraged to be embraced by others. Through bold symmetry and a monochromatic appeal, racial diversity can be introduced to others in order to empower these kinds of communities. I always find myself being amazed and inspired by those that aren’t afraid to be themselves, especially those that share their creativity.


Femicides of Mexico
Discrimination against women has spread like wildfire over the years across Mexico, where street harassment is to be expected and domestic violence reports increase day by day. Unfortunately, it is the indigenous women of Mexico that experience this kind of aggression the most. Despite carrying on wonderful traditions and an admirable craftsmanship, these women continue to be perceived as second class citizens that deserve no better. However, through the portrayal of their strength and the origins of their rich culture, many others can become aware of the importance of these women and their contributions to the rest of the world. By supporting the female voices from across the globe that are being silenced every day, we can become a stronger community fueled by their creativity and stories to tell.


HIV Awareness
As of today, there are over 37 million people living with HIV across the globe. With the amount of information that the internet has to offer as well as relentless HIV/Aids awareness campaigns, the stigma surrounding the disease continues to linger amongst popular culture. Given that the outbreak and confusing introduction of HIV to the world occurred during the early 80’s, most of Millennials and Gen Z youth seem oblivious about the history and relevance of this disease. Therefore, I portray the matter through a minimalistic silhouette, highlighting the fact that the disease isn’t exempt of affecting any kind of race, age, gender, sexual orientation or religious belief. Another alarming fact, is that there’s approximately 8,500 women living with HIV giving birth annually. It’s important for you to know your status, as it could be your child’s too.


**Since the beginning of time, men have been encouraged to embrace the harmful stereotypes of what masculinity represents without consideration of how badly it affects all of us; including boys and girls. Imposed gender roles and discriminatory clichés have sprung controversial topics such as #freethenipple, #mascxmasc, and #planet5050 amongst social media users, generating a worldwide conversation about what the socially-constructed concept of gender means and how complex and liberating it actually is. By illustrating various men reminiscent of the “macho” era of the 70’s, their tiresome and dull appearance echo with the stance of both parents and youth alike, regarding gender issues that should concern us all.


Inspiration & Luna
Because I find great comfort inside children’s books, I always strive to portray the charisma and nostalgia that those kinds of stories emit into the photos and portraits that I create. After discovering my love for reading and writing at an early age, a lovely companion named Luna arrived to see me grow and evolve for what is now over eight years. Known as a Tangerine Leopard Gecko, Luna has proven to be a warm and curious creature that isn’t camera shy at all. Along with the adventures that I’ve experienced throughout the pages of many books, my love for animals of any kind has inspired me to photograph various Moths, Butterfly Rabbits and very chubby Cats, amongst many other furry and scaly creatures. I hope that by sharing my interest in critters of all shapes and sizes, many people can become aware of the respect and care that they deserve regardless of how fuzzy or cute they seem.


**Queer Issues
**This multi-leved collage has proven to be a very fun experiment for me because of the different use of materials, dimensions and textures that I’ve never had the courage to try out before. However, as much fun as it was to create this portrait, there’s a much more serious context that lies behind it. Despite the rising visibility of LGBT issues across the globe, there are still grave matters to be addressed and many challenges to overcome. For example, LGBT people of color are almost twice as likely to experience physical violence compared to white LGBTQ survivors and victims, and 73% of all anti-LGBTQ homicide victims in 2012 were people of color. On the other hand, 41% of trans teens have attempted suicide, this being one of the recurring consequences of the constant harassment and abuse that can even begin from their own home. It is through sexual diversity studies that many of us can educate ourselves and become involved in creating an equal and safe environment for the LGBT community.

#8 Yes You Can

**“Yes You Can”
**Did you know that there are over 121 million people around the world that are currently suffering some form of depression? Worst thing is, that over 80% of the people that show symptoms of depression do not seek medical treatment at all. Being touched by the lack of attention towards this troublesome matter, I realized that depression continues to exist as a taboo that is disregarded by many, while there’s an abundance of teens that suffer from this condition. Because of the lack of recognition and information available to many of those that are unaware of their depression, I’ve chosen to highlight the importance of self-recognition and love in the newly renovated #WightWonders series. Never forget how much you’re worth and the true value of letting your true self shine and enlighten others. There’s no such thing as “I can’t”, because I can assure you that yes, you can!

See more of Luis’ work on Instagram.