Leaving (curiosity)

Natalia Murillo Ruelas

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Leaving (curiosity) is the first part of an ongoing project inspired by the artist personal journey of walking away from the catholic church.

Curiosity got the best of me, I could feel it slowly creeping up on me—you start noticing new things, reading new things, meeting new people—So I had to make a choice, pretend it wasn’t happening or follow it.

Even if this was a very personal story, I also knew I wasn’t the only nor first one to go through it, so I looked for inspiration in stories, books, and movies (specially Mexican horror films)

At this point it seemed obvious to look at colonization next. The moment Spain brought forced Catholicism upon locals and worked so hard to erase the culture and traditions of communities like Mayas, Mexicas, Aztecas, and more, around 1521 in the territory now known as Mexico.

I jumped back and forth between researching religion and art. I looked at the ceramic work these communities had before the Spanish, their practices and techniques, what they used it for, and their decorative details. But also during and after the colonization, what changed, and why.

One night she decided to sneak out to explore the cave in the woods 

She knew the cave was off limits. “It’s extremely dangerous to go in. If you walk in, you won’t come back” they said, but no one would actually tell her what laid in there. 

The town put up a gate that was secured with a big lock.

The lock was always there, for as long as she could remember.

One day while working at the woods, she noticed the lock appeared to be open, resting on the gate, inviting her in, tempting her.

Later that night, she decides to sneak out and go to the cave. Just to take a peek, how bad could it be?

My relationship with pottery 

Pottery sparked my creativity when I needed it the most. I felt like I was stuck, constantly reminding myself that if I wanted to be taken seriously as an illustrator, I had to master the art of going digital and perfect. Pottery was what started my journey of exploring deeper into traditional media — the joy of moving my body around the studio, getting my hands dirty, finding new forms of problem solving and ditching the ctrl+Z.

Exploring materials, finding the ones that make sense for me, exploring and constantly transforming my ideas, listening to my body, doing what feels right.

Going with it (the chaotic and unpredictable ways of life) and making it work.


When I was younger, back in my hometown — I started getting involved with a catholic youth group.

I went to a catholic school from preschool to the end of high school. Religion was always there, it was always part of my identity, but when I was 15 I decided this was IT, my calling. I was meant to be in this group, I was doing so good, and they were doing so many good things, it just made sense.

This was around 13 years ago.

I’m close to 30 now and I still look back at that time with anger and shame. Since I don’t feel that’s ending soon—Why not art-it?

Natalia Murillo Ruelas

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Natalia is a Mexican illustrator and designer based in the territory currently known as Vancouver, B.C. She loves bright colours, stickers, exploring new materials and creating pieces for your space that will make you smile. One of her main motivators is to start social and cultural conversations through her art and enjoys taking the viewer through her creative process. Her most recent work includes ceramics, silk screen printing and painting.

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