At just 18 years of age, time is very much on the side of Evi Ruz. Yet Evi, who is currently studying a Bachelor of Arts (Theatre) Acting Major at USQ, has already put together an impressive list of achievements as a visual artist, an actor in training and a poet.
In 2014 and again last year, through Toowoomba’s Start Student Art Gallery, Evi Ruz held successful solo visual art exhibitions of her work with originals and prints selling briskly.
Evi has also been particularly active at the Empire Theatres where she has appeared in plays, is a youth arts assistant and is involved in workshops for children from six to 12 years old. “We first met Evi through our Empire Youth Arts drama classes,” says Empire Theatres projects manager Jeanette Wedmaier. “She has blossomed over the time since as an artist, both through our programs and her independent artistic pursuit. She has excelled as a performer in the IMPACT ensemble and we are very happy to be able to support her artistic development throughout her university studies.”
Although she only began writing poetry a few years ago, Evi has already shown imagination and creative expression in her writing. This ability enabled her to reach the Queensland final of last year’s Australian Poetry Slam, which is a national competition attracting more than 1000 contestants.
Along the way, Evi has also been quite an international traveller living in Papua New Guinea for 18 months as well as visiting Singapore, Thailand, Vanuatu, New Zealand, Fiji and the Philippines.
Born in Tasmania, Evi’s family moved to Victoria when she was two and seven years later to Papua New Guinea where her father is a transport policy adviser. She was then enrolled in 2009 as a boarder at Scots PGC College at Warwick. “There is a visual arts kind of thing in my family,” she says. “My Dad’s Mum is a painter and won the Darwin show, probably three times, and my Dad did some painting back in his day.”
It was not until Grade 10, however, that she began exploring her aesthetics. “I soon found people liked what I was doing and now that I’ve had exhibitions in the last two years, I’m hoping it will become an annual thing,” she says. “I’m putting my work in cafes every now and then. Also the Empire Theatres has commissioned me to do one of their poster designs and I have a few naked ladies, which people have asked for so I am in a little bit of demand.”
Evi enjoyed her time in Warwick and left a vivid impression in her final year by being co-founder, lead guitarist and backing vocalist of the college’s rock band. “With my passion for the arts evolving … I was jumping backwards and forwards from Toowoomba,” Evi says.
That resulted in her settling in Toowoomba in December 2014. Since then, the combination of being at USQ, working at Empire Theatres and her connection with Start has enabled her to begin reaching for even greater heights.
Words by Graeme Kelly | Images supplied by Evi Ruz