The Sculpture of Esther Ruiz

Brooklyn-based artist Esther Ruiz creates symmetrical sculptures made with concrete, neon tubing and Plexiglas. I love these materials being used together, but I also love that she seems to have created an industrial sunset or rainbow with the forms. Inspired by being surrounded by concrete in New York, she is also influenced by all she sees around her from the trinkets she collects to the materials she works with daily at a neon shop. Esther’s work just stood out to me as not only interesting, but inclusive of the “Nouveau Memphis” movement while equally separating herself from it through symmetry and materials. I found it interesting that she also creates a drawing of each sculpture that she makes. I briefly chatted with her about her work and process:

What inspires the forms of your work?

The cylindrical forms come from study core samples. I imagine my core samples from other planets. The arch on a horizon line, which I use most often, is mainly informed by landscape. Much like the setting sun, but I imagine my miniature landscapes existing in another realm or on another planet. What would the setting sun look like on Saturn? I think about that a lot.

How did you get into making sculpture?

I’ve made and studied art my entire life. I took my first sculpture class while I attended Tulane University in 2007. I loved how my professor talked about sculpture. The possibilities seemed infinite and so abstractly tangible. Does that make sense? I also like building and problem solving. And I think sculpture traverses so many axes. Sculpture includes so much of what makes the world around us.



Do you listen to music while you make art? What’s on your playlist?

I always have music on in the studio! And always on shuffle!
I love techno, pop, 90s and some classical too.
Aphex Twin, Autechre, Actress, Gwen Stefani, Chumbawamba!, Lil Wayne, Drake, Chopin…

Who is one of your favorite contemporary artists (living)?

I love Greg Bogin!!!! And I just saw an installation by Haroon Mirza and fell in love.




Esther Ruiz in her studio

Esther Ruiz in her studio

Check out her work on and see where she’s showing next.

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.