Michael Ruiz Jr. put on his football jersey in junior high and though he spent some time on the sidelines, that time helped him gain a new perspective on the game which is the inspiration behind his art that is being featured at Clark Field Municipal Airport from Feb. 9-April 28 as the Cross Timbers Fine Arts Council’s latest exhibit.

“In my art I paint these unsensationalized, often quiet, moments in football games that occur on the sideline,” Ruiz said. “It’s an interesting vantage point because while I was still a part of the action, I was not the focus. Being a part of this in-between space changed my perspective on the players of the game.”

Ruiz graduated from Tarleton State University with a bachelor of fine arts degree in studio art and has been featured at Tarleton’s Clyde H. Wells Fine Arts Gallery and the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.

“Michael is an outstanding young artist and was an art camp volunteer while he was in high school,” CTFAC Executive Director Julie Crouch said. “I am tremendously proud of him and honored to feature his work.”

Ruiz’s paintings are done in grayscale, something he believes adds harmony to each piece.

“Many of the paintings depict moments where a player is feeling down or despondent. I think painting in black and white adds a sense of unity to all the players, almost as if they all play for the same team,” he said. “These colors also take away from any distractions present in the game and places the focus directly on the players. This helps strip down the commotion of the game to highlight these sideline moments.”