While many artists express their talent on paper, Diamond Bar High School sophomore Julia Ruelas takes an unconventional approach by painting on everyday apparel.
Combining her love for fashion and her artistic talent, Ruelas started painting on personal items—such as her shoes, Hydro Flasks and shorts—during her free time, and posting them on her Twitter and Instagram accounts, @JuliaRuelas1 and @jullia_ruelas, this March.
“The pieces went viral on Twitter and Instagram. People were wondering if I was selling them. I turned it into something to make money from,” Ruelas said.
One of her most popular pieces depicts Vincent Van Gogh’s “A Starry Night” and Katsushika Hokusai’s “The Great Wave” painted on the back pockets of two pairs of pants.
The photo on her Twitter account gained over 34.5K likes motivating her to make more art pieces and grow her business. She’s also done a painting of flowers, guitars, telephones and peaches in reference to the popular book and movie, “Call Me by Your Name.”
Ruelas said she’s been drawing ever since she could pick up a crayon. Other than an art introduction class she took in sixth grade, Ruelas is self taught,
As she enters her sophomore year, and school life becomes more demanding, Ruelas still spends most of her time sitting in front of a blank canvas. On a daily basis, she said she paints for two to three hours but can sometimes find herself painting for up to six hours.
“It is a stress reliever for me with school and other activities. I mean, to sit down and paint something, that is my own [hobby] and it definitely takes my mind off things,” Ruelas said.
In April, she began selling the same designs of the clothes and Hydro Flask water bottles on her Instagram page. The costs of the items vary from $80 to $180, depending on the designs and surface types her customers want.
While Ruelas has always hand painted her replicas to sell to her customers, she is thinking of printing her paintings to help fill the increasing demand of orders.
“I just love to create art that makes people happy and lets me express myself and my creativity,” Ruelas said via text.