Giving Your Right Brain a Regular Workout

Featured Artist: Redbubble Resident Ruta Dumalakaite

Artist Ruta Dumalakaite is one of the three Artists in Residence at our Melbourne office. Ruta’s beautifully detailed artworks are a labor of love, with attention to detail and meticulous shading taking centerstage in her works. Ruta traveled from Lithuania to create works for the Redbubble Residency, and her artworks have flourished inside her studio space.

Be sure to visit her shop to find products featuring her amazing work.

Redbubble Resident Artist Ruta Dumalakaite

I notice you use a lot of animals and natural environments to create your own immersive world – do you use artwork as an escape or release into another space? 

I think I create my immersive world for viewer  to understand that our home planet is one big generous paradise. I don’t want to escape or release into another space. I am too much in love with what I see around me, living now and today, at the moment in such short second of Earth’s life. My only goal is that people could understand and feel that little magic through my works I found in nature. I hope one day they will see and treat world differently as I do. As we all are connected to each other, floating in a space in our spaceship called Earth with our little solar universe.

What’s your creative process like from initial idea through to uploaded design? How do you create your artwork? 

First, I am growing my ideas in my head as little plants. Then the idea starts to bloom with real shape, details, feelings, symbols which tells the inside story, I start sketching on a paper with 2B pencil and then I finish mainly with acrylic paints on wood. I am working on artwork as long as I become happy about it, until I believe that there is nothing else what I can add to make it better, to be more perfect.  At that point I sign the artwork and scan or photograph it, depending on artwork size. I spend usually one more day fixing and adjusting this artwork in Photoshop to look as good as original one. After that I customize it for different products. First, I cut out some parts of artwork from background so I can use them for T-shirts, sticker, and pattern designs. I’m experimenting with how I can use my art in best way to print out on mugs, pouches, and duvet covers. So usually I make one square file for pillows and scarves, one landscape for laptop skins, and pouches, separate files for mugs… I make many files from one artwork to try to make those products to look as good as I would love to buy them. And even over the time, I come back to some products I’ve made before and re-uploading better files with better ideas or composition.

Ruta hard at work at Redbubble's Melbourne HQ

"Birds of Paradise 2" Laptop Skin

Ruta's workspace at Redbubble's Melbourne HQ

What’s the biggest learning curve or professional development you’ve gone through as an artist? 

First I understood that I wanted to spend my time drawing, it took me 27 years to accept myself being as an artist. After that, I started to search what mediums are best for my narrative and highly-detailed original works. I am still searching for my style and subjects I want to paint. Style never appears in one night you have to build by working as much as possible, and at the end of the day you see what’s working and what’s not for you.

"Forest eyes" Studio Pouch

Where do you find inspiration in the world around you?

I find inspiration in nature and travelling. I like to observe people I am surrounded by. I do love to study plant’s structure, architecture and natural creations. It has always surprise me how complicated and simple it could be at the same time. Until now best artist to follow for me is growth of nature. It so inspiring self growing energy in the earth. I watch animals and birds in natural environment and in public places. I am interested in connections in between humans and nature.

What materials do you use to create your artwork? What’s your favorite material? 

Acrylic paints on wood panel or soft, with texture Japanese Maple wood – those are my two favorite materials. I love experimenting with watercolors, different kinds and colors of paper, drawing pencils, markers, inks , clay , epoxy, photos, and lots of different stuff like stamp cawing, jewelry making from pressed dried flowers. Acrylic paints gives me control any time while working, like digital painting. I have delete option any time just paint over it. I easily  get bored of routine so I am trying every day to find new ways how my ideas can be expressed, new ways of how art supplies can be used differently. I never want to be stuck in one place, or in one art medium, same as in one frame of mind. I always look for new ways of expressing my ideas.

Ruta's workspace at Redbubble's Melbourne HQ

"Owl Foret" Tote Bag

How does surrealism and pop-surrealism influence your artwork? 

Yes I am inspired by modern artist like Caitlin Hackett, Naoto Hattori and Mark Ryden. I do love to use photorealistic details in my art. It gives more power to the narrative story and I do love to blur traditional boundaries between nature and fantastic unbelievable world.

A lot of your artwork seems wonderfully imaginative and filled with whimsical references to forests – how does storytelling or mythologies come into your artworks? 

I try to create narrative works because if art doesn’t give you emotions and feelings, message or aesthetic satisfaction is not interesting for me. The only mythology you can see in my works is old religions from long time before where people believed in nature like Shinto or Baltic religions, where the nature is personalized.

Details of Ruta's artwork in progress

When did your interest in making animals your subjects begin? What is it about animals that you are so interested in? 

My biggest interest in animal are that we still can’t ask their opinion, their needs, their thoughts. We do not include them in to our life, except pets and animals we grow for food. We do not think that all are connected together and everything goes round and round. And we all know, what would happen if one day all bees would disappear. So for me  animals from forest became like an aliens which I can explore by finding my way to understand them. To understand magic how they fly or swim through oceans and desserts.  They still do it way better than we humans do, without any pollution or destruction of the world. How animals use human development of the world for their needs, or opposite how they struggle to survive. So yes animals and nature is my passion to explore. And it goes well with my life as I do love travelling and hiking, camping all sorts of stuff you do outside your comfort zone. Here in Australia nature is so easy accessible, it is all around you even in the city, opossums lives in the park, birds and parrots are in the trees in your garden, penguins jumps from sea for night sleep to the shore, ok kangaroos or wombats doesn’t walk in the streets, but you can find them easy just go to explore! In places I live before animals hides way better than here.

"Parrot Macaw bike red" Throw Pillow

What advice would you give to other artists who want to be part of the Redbubble Residency experience? 

My advice would be spend your 6 months of residency time on creating the personal works you were dreaming about and forget the commercial part of work. Find or follow your way. Draw from first day you come here. Melbourne is awesome place and time goes fast.

What’s your favorite thing about Redbubble? 

My favorite thing are the people working at Redbubble. Efforts they do to help artists from around the world in this digital age. I never experience such approach and reasons to make it happen.

What’s been the highlight of the Redbubble Residency for you? 

Freedom in my art. I do here exactly what I want. There is no restrictions or boundaries. The only who can limit me is my own imagination. I am my own client. Probably I work too long for others and this concentration on my works gives me wings as all the residency program.

Ruta's studio space at Redbubble HQ

Visit Ruta’s shop to purchase some products with her gorgeous illustrations.

See more Featured Artists