Where I'm @

Rutopia: the Kingdom Within

Ruben de Bruijn
Sun 16 Dec
"There are continents and shores that beseech our understanding"
Function Illustrator & Artist
Year 2018
Major Illustration
Practice Autonomous Practices
The work of Ruben Topia focuses on finding balance in a world of confusion and chaos. His Rutopia project is a visual exploration to find the kingdom within that combines diverse cultures into one universal world.
Ruben Topia - Rutopia - Psychedelic animation

What is your occupation now?

Since graduating in Illustration major at WdKA in 2018, I have been working on multiple personal projects as a freelance artist. I make the artworks for musical artists and events that I love. Next to that, I work on a series of isometric illustrations for my book 'Rutopia'.

Land of Rutopia

A utopian island where all continents are combined and form one universal temple, holding the world that flourishes as a plant. The golden temples are inhabited by the four wise people from all four wind directions. The psychedelic garden of Eden, blessed by a Mahayana Buddhist statue. This island contains many references to ancient wisdom, architecture and utopian projects as the Venus project, Auroville and Sacramento.

Below there is the maze. The pattern we often find ourselves in within the middle of the temple, the house where our lives are based around. The temple has a golden ball on top, it stands for enlightenment and is protected by snakes. If we want to achieve paradise we have to conquer the dragon. The rise of the snakes within is as the energy that flows from our root to crown chakra.

What expertise/skills did you gain at WdKA?

I used my time at the academy to create several detailed illustrated maps of fictional worlds where all of my thoughts and research come together. These works took me one to three months each to complete.

During my study at WdKA, I had a lot of time to experiment and work with different disciplines like painting, photography, ceramics, literature, art history, writing, and philosophy. I developed the ability to look critically at my own work and the work of the fellow students. I realise that my profession is versatile and can be commercially used for brands, events, products and independent projects but it can also serve as a tool for self-development and reflection on the artist's own psychology. Drawing is an easy tool to use and it reveals how we perceive the world. WdKA is an academy, known for its commercial applicability and communication and I have enhanced those skills over the years. Part of my study was an exchange programme in Seoul, where I studied animation, spending hours developing technical skills, drawing models and studying anatomy.

Favourite WdKA memory?

The beginning and the end. In the beginning, you look up to the coming years at the academy like a climber looks at the huge mountain. In the end, after you have climbed the mountain, you look back at the tiny different you, back in the distance.

What is the future of your profession in your opinion?

Every project starts with a sketch. Illustrating is capturing thoughts or a message in a two-dimensional image, then, starting again with capturing new ideas and turning them into a form, taking the images to another dimension. Future generations will draw and paint on screens instead of paper but a minority will ‘always’ remain true to print. We are able to transform 2D images into 3D by technology and, maybe eventually, when our collective consciousness is transcended we might turn formless ideas into existence just like that, without the need for an illustration.

You never leave your house without…?

I always bring a book that I am reading and a notebook to write ideas and stories
(+ business cards).

Any words of advice to the students?

Don’t rely solely on school projects and grades. It is great if you get a high grade for a project but failing can be more instructive and useful. Working on the assignments that are not part of the programme, but give you joy, and gaining experience is more useful in the long run.

Rutopia store

Your favourite recent project?

For one month I lived and worked in a little passage at lil' Amsterdam (Amstelpassage at Amsterdam Central Station). There, I created an alternative Amsterdam map mural based on the ADE and the disappearance of cultural spaces in the city, made music with musicians, sold my own books, clothing, paintings and told stories to people in an environment that originally is not intended for mindfulness sessions, standing still and meeting people.

Your plans and dreams for the future?

In the future, I would like to speak in front of an audience about art and the correlation between our inner and outer world. I want to write a novel that is based on the topics of architecture, psychology, Western and Eastern religions with my illustrations, a universal book for people to dream and develop their own vision. If we have a vision of how our lives should be like we can create a world that matches our limitless potential.

BNO IMG LAB Talk , Photography: Hans Tak

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