Work by award-winning illustrator and writer Daisy “Draizys” Ruiz.By Mia Hollie.

In a city full of gray architecture, comic writer and illustrator Daisy “Draizys” Ruiz’s art offers a colorful reimagining of what New York City could look like with just a bit more pink and sparkles. 

Ruiz, a first-generation Mexican-American, said her mom’s ability to create an aesthetically vibrant home during Ruiz’s youth in the South Bronx influenced the way she approached art. 

“My mom always made sure to have the house always really brightly colored – she always made me hand-made curtains that were pink,” she said. “So I feel that my art is inspired by taking my surroundings and adding a magic touch to it.” 

The 32-year-old strives to strike a balance between capturing the beauty of the neighborhood and its residents and the realities of growing up as a young woman in a low-income neighborhood that the city historically neglects. 

Her award-winning comic “Gordita: Built Like This,” for example, follows a middle-schooler named Gordita who struggles with low self-esteem and body dysmorphia. She slowly learns to accept herself as she is through the support of her peers and guidance counselor. 

Ruiz is also the author of the six-panel mini-comic “Global Warming in The Bronx,” which documents her life at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, when unusually high winter temperatures, building fires and flooding compounded the negative impact of the ongoing virus.  

The illustrator spent 2023 serving as the Lower East Side Girl’s Club Artist In Residence, enabling her to teach middle school students how to create paper dolls. She and her students held an exhibition last December to display the “chibi” paper dolls. 

Watch this video to learn more about Ruiz as she speaks with the Mott Haven Herald in her studio at the L.E.S. Girls Club in Manhattan:

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