When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.
— Lao Tzu

“My artwork embraces an intensely personal perspective on how I perceive the world around me. Each series that I form is a story that I draw from personal experiences. It is based on my race, my gender, my history and my life to converse the subtleness of my emotions. My abstract works are in the whole. The way one line or object connects to the other. I enjoy the particulars of the natural

way the paint lies on the canvas, not always laying flat, giving the image texture and layers to build the canvas upward in dimension: to move, blend and for it to become it’s own distinctive style. I am not stagnant nor can be stereotyped so I work with the freedom of knowing I will create my thoughts and I am constantly evolving with new ideas and ways to translate my story.”


Tina Mari Rucker was born in San Juan, Puerto Rico and grew up in Georgia and South Carolina. She later moved to Illinois and attended Columbia College Chicago where she received her BA in filmmaking.She produced an directed a documentary titled, Numu Tekwa, Speak Comanche. A film showcasing the Comanche Tribe’s Language Preservation committee’s efforts to preserve their language and culture. After Columbia College, she received an MFA in filmmaking and filmed a music video titled, My World Will Be All Right, and a documentary titled, aMBitIOn. Ambition follows her struggle and two other women’s perspective with their attempt to raise and provide for their family while working as a filmmaker, painter and actor. While at UIC’s fine arts department, she noticed her films had a poetic imagistic aspect and she began to use her vision to create the imagery onto a canvas. Her focus changed from films to abstract oil paintings. She began to organize pop up shows incorporating other artist and she continues to create shows bi-yearly showing in Chicago and New York’s Context.

Through time, she has been able to work with several mediums, including wax, resin and cloth materials. It is all about trying to create a specific dialogue by incorporating various materials. She loves painting and her love for films hasn’t been extracted from her life. She continues to work in film either on a crew or with her own projects because she feels that being an artist doesn’t mean you need to be pigeonholed to only one instrument.

Tina Mari has received numerous awards and scholarships including the Weisman Scholarship and Production Fund from Columbia College. She was awarded a grant from the Illinois Art Council. AT&T Pioneers award and award from the D.R.I.V.E. Committee. She was guest speaker at Red Earth Film & Video Competition and received a Graduate College Diversity Fellowship along with a certificate of Appreciation from UIC Children’s Department.