Who is Raco Ruiz Outside of TikTok? An Artist Who Paints with Life’s Unexpected Twists

Who is Raco Ruiz Outside of TikTok? An Artist Who Paints with Life’s Unexpected Twists


With a paintbrush in one hand and a smile on his face, Raco Ruiz talks to MEGA about how the power of art and laughter can illuminate even the darkest of days

There’s this funny guy. He’s part internet entertainer, part conyo culture connoisseur, and all-around artistic dynamo. In TikTok, he voices SpongeBob and friends in a parody portrayal; he also does conyo skits in a not-so-parody portrayal. Comedy, after all, is art expressed through rather torrid experiences. And, yes, he is also an artist, influenced by characters he watched growing up, like Happy Tree Friends. He is the nephew of acclaimed artist Jose Tence Ruiz. There’s this funny guy. Maybe you know him—his name is Raco Ruiz.

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From Childhood Creativity to Digital Stardom

Unlike a sudden epiphany or dramatic career shift, his path was one of playful exploration from an early age. “It was always just something I found fun as a child,” Ruiz reflects. From commandeering his father’s camcorder for stop-motion videos to starring in his productions due to a lack of available actors, his penchant for expression was innate. “I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t doing it,” he admits with a chuckle, amused by his assumption that everyone shared his passion for art. 

Raco Ruiz’s paintings are known for their wild and whimsical themes

Enrolling in a Communication Arts course at De La Salle University proved to be a pivotal moment, despite its non-visual arts focus. Here, Ruiz discovered new avenues for his talents, serving as the go-to artist for group projects and delving into comic book illustrations for the school paper. “I could use my voice more for stuff or I could also use my art to make people laugh,” he realized, expanding his creative horizons beyond traditional artwork. The pandemic, however, catapulted Ruiz’s content creation endeavors to new heights. What began as a leisurely pursuit on TikTok blossomed into a full-fledged career, offering an escape from the confines of his corporate job and ultimately becoming his primary source of income.

The Heart of Humor, the Soul of Art

Ruiz’s heart leans towards humor, but with a twist. “I don’t like being identified as a comedian,” he asserts, preferring the title of a “professional fun-haver”, The pressure of constantly delivering laughs doesn’t sit well with him, as he fears the weight of expectations that come with the label. Instead, Ruiz revels in the joy of simply having fun and creating content that reflects his animated spirit.

Raco’s animaterd personality is reflected in the videos he makes and the art that he paints

However, if his humor touches his heart, art touches his soul. Ruiz finds solace and satisfaction in the process. “The art is more fulfilling because the process is longer and I get to pour more of my soul into it without having to please everyone.” With art, he expresses frustrations and truths that may not find a place in his comedic endeavors. Unlike the constant need to entertain and please with his TikToks and Reels, creating art allows Ruiz to be his authentic self, unburdened by external expectations.

Mixing Morbidity and Merriment

Ruiz speaks passionately about the impact his Uncle Jose has had on him both as an individual and as an artist. “Every time I’d go to his exhibits with my family, I would see he’s using popular culture and mixing it with morbid ideas of social commentary blended into it,” he reflects. “I found it cool.” Witnessing his uncle’s approach left an impression on Ruiz, inspiring him to explore his own distinct themes in his artwork.

While Ruiz is careful not to emulate his uncle’s style out of respect, he acknowledges the subtle influence his uncle’s work has had on his endeavors. “The flavor I think I add to that is I just make it look happy.” Despite the dark themes, Ruiz suffuses his artwork with a sense of absurdity—one that is highly appreciated. 

A central theme in Raco’s work is happiness

There’s Always Funny in the Fight

The artist’s specific aesthetic and his ability to invest personal experiences into his work stem from a combination of factors, including his health struggles. “As much as I hated going through this as a teen, I think it shaped my perspective on life,” he recalls, referring to the autoimmune sickness that plagued his youth. 

“You know how they say pressure makes diamonds? I’d like to think, ‘Okay, that was my pressure moment.’ Because of that, I was always forced to look at life. I was like, ‘If I’m going to be happy about stuff, I need a way to cope.'” he clarifies. “I would draw violent cartoons in my notebook.” The image of him hunched over his sketches—channeling his inner turmoil onto the page—paints a poignant picture of soundness. “But,” he adds, his laughter carrying a warmth that belies the gravity of his words, “of cartoony animals going through painful situations. In a way, I would view myself as that cartoony animal going through pain.”

The artist also uses his craft as a way to cope with the hardships of life

The constant physical pain he endured compelled him to find coping mechanisms, leading him to draw violent cartoons as a form of catharsis. Through humor, he found a way to helm his difficulties and see the funny side of life, refusing to succumb to self-pity.

The Unintended Effects of Nostalgia and Comfort

His aesthetic, characterized by bold, cartoonish elements with eye-catching colors, is heavily influenced by his upbringing in the ‘90s skateboarding culture, as well as his exposure to iconic cartoons like Looney Tunes. Additionally, growing up surrounded by sisters and being primarily surrounded by girls in his social circles introduced him to a world of Lisa Frank, Bratz dolls, and glittery aesthetics. This juxtaposition of masculine and feminine influences has shaped Ruiz’s palette.

Ruiz shares instances where his art, intended to evoke introspection or shed light on dark themes, pleasantly surprised viewers by eliciting feelings of nostalgia and comfort instead. In one exhibit, where his paintings depicted cartoon characters engulfed in flames to represent his difficult childhood, viewers found solace in the familiarity of the imagery, reminiscing about their own childhoods. Similarly, in another exhibit highlighting the detrimental effects of commercialism on children, with characters morphed to appear distressed and monstrous, viewers found comfort in the nostalgia of the artwork rather than focusing on the intended social commentary.

The artist and content creator is a certified ’90s kid

While Ruiz’s initial intention was to provoke deeper thought and awareness about societal issues through his art, he finds solace in the unexpected resonance his work elicits. “Even if that wasn’t my intention, that’s heartwarming,” he shares with a smile, his eyes alight with a mix of surprise and contentment. The genuine warmth in his voice emphasizes the impact of his creations, even when they diverge from their intended purpose. “At least it’s making them happy.”

Comedic Compassion

Ruiz approaches comedy with a thoughtful and considerate mindset, recognizing the importance of the balance between humor and sensitivity in today’s landscape. He adheres to a personal rule of avoiding making fun of other people’s disadvantages. Instead, his humor tends to poke fun upwards, targeting the elite and traditional stereotypes of hyper-masculinity, while refraining from mocking physical disabilities or other personal hardships.

While Raco loves comedy, he makes sure that his jokes are never at the expense of someone else

Where sensitivity to offensive content is heightened, Ruiz acknowledges the need for comedians to adapt to the evolving world. He rejects the notion that comedy is dead, but rather believes it is transforming to align with societal sensitivities. “There are already so many hateful things going on. I don’t want to add to making fun of people who are having a hard time. That’s why if you’ll notice with my humor, I never make fun of anything physical, like physical disadvantages of people. Never. I don’t want to make fun of that.” 

To ensure that his content remains respectful and inclusive, especially during his early stages on TikTok, Ruiz seeks feedback from his Gen Z sister. By running potential skit ideas by her and listening to her perspective, he gains insight into what may be considered offensive or hurtful, allowing him to adjust his jokes accordingly to be more light-hearted and funny, rather than potentially harmful.

On TikTok, Raco is most known for his conyo series

Ruiz’s comedy is deeply rooted in his own lived experiences and observations, allowing him to create relatable and humorous content that reflects the quirks and idiosyncrasies of everyday life. He draws heavily from personal experiences and conversations with friends to inform the content he produces in his comedy skits. His own social circles serve as inspiration for many of his comedic scenarios, embodying exaggerated versions of them in his skits. For instance, his conyo series originated from observations of friends who, despite their outwardly tough appearance, revealed themselves to be soft-hearted romantics underneath.

Similarly, his satire of elite kids in some of his content stems from encounters he’s had with individuals who exhibit privileged behavior. Rather than harboring animosity towards them, Ruiz finds humor in the absurdity of their actions and speech. By sharing these experiences through his comedy, he aims to highlight the ridiculousness of certain behaviors rather than incite hatred.

Through his work, the artist shows that sometimes we shouldn’t take life too seriously

His Future of Fun

Ruiz approaches the future with a flexible mindset, recognizing that new ideas and opportunities will present themselves unpredictably. While he currently enjoys success with his conyo content, he remains open to evolving and exploring new avenues for creativity. Rather than feeling constrained by labels like “comedian”, he prefers to focus on creating content that he finds genuinely amusing and engaging, regardless of specific genre or format. “I’m riding the wave while people find it funny. But eventually, I’ll think of something new that I find funny, that I can share with the world.”

What’s one thing you can always expect from Raco’s paintings? An explosion of color

The artist’s aspirations center around fostering a sense of happiness and connection with his audience, whether through his comedic skits, his artwork, or any future endeavors with authenticity as his compass. “I hope to just continue making people happy with my content. That’s all.” They say the grass is greener on the other side, but for Raco Ruiz, his grass is just fine.

Photography ALVIN CHUA

Photos courtesy of Raco Ruiz

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