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Buzzing Around Brooklyn With Local Artist Willow Ruth

This past Spring, we had the opportunity to work with yet another talented, emerging artist for our ongoing mural series. This time Brooklyn local, Willow Ruth, aka Brooklyn Buzzy shared her gift with the neighborhood by creating a large-scale mural on the sidewalk facing wall of one of Hiatus’ favorite accounts, The Springs Brooklyn. Let’s get to know more about our creator!

Willow Ruth aka Brooklyn Buzzy with her recently completed mural outside of The Springs in Brooklyn New York.

Hi Buzzy! Give us a little background, where do you hail from? I grew up in Maryland, just outside of DC.  My father immigrated to the states from Israel and my mother was born and bred in Brooklyn.  

How long have you been living in Brooklyn? My husband and I moved to Brooklyn from Dupont Circle in DC, this May marked 20 years of living in Brooklyn.

Did you always have your sights set on art or were there other stories along the way? I have a BS in Biology from the University of Maryland, and a Master’s in Acupuncture from Maryland University of Integrated Health. In the early naught, I was the acupuncturist for Jivamukti Yoga, it was awesome. Then I had a bunch of kids (3) and that was that. There are only two jobs in my life that I will never tire of or quit, being a mom and being an artist.

Willow Ruth aka Brooklyn Buzzy painting mural.

Tell us about your “street name”, Brooklyn Buzzy, where did that come from? One summer we were staying at my parent’s house for a few weeks to get out of the city and for whatever reason there weren’t any toys around. My daughter found my mother’s sewing box and inside were old clothespins.  My brother happened to be in for a visit and had a denim shirt with so many holes, we appropriated it and cut it all up. My two oldest kids and I started going crazy making these weird little art dolls.  My youngest was not old enough to make one himself so I made him one and found a feather for the top of its head.  I asked, “What should we name it?”  My oldest who was 9 at the time said “Fuzzy!” (because of the feather), then he goes, “no Buzzy!” The name stuck. The Brooklyn part of my name came in only because Buzzy was taken on insta and .com.  

A little bio on the inspiration of your Monsters Series? When I started painting it was all abstract. I had made this super large, abstract painting that I didn’t like. I stared at it for so long I started to see things in it. I drew an outline and there it was. It’s been a while now and the monsters have morphed into different types of creatures, my most current ones, like the one on the mural are just very big examples of a daily drawing practice I have with my youngest son. Every day I make him a little ‘lunch note’ with a monster on it. 

The colorful figures were inspired in part by artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

You also have a line of streetwear, how did that come about? I was invited to be an artist in a Minika Ko fashion show. We were given pieces from her incredible line and were asked to create directly on them. I had all black pieces and I painted the entire thing 360 with gold monsters. When my beautiful model, Myori put it on and walked down the runway I couldn’t believe how cool it was.  I have been painting monsters on jackets, suits, shirts, pants, bags, hats, and whatever ever since.

Favorite art world experience? In 2002 I went to the Tate Modern by myself. I did not know much about art at that point, except that I was drawn to it almost romantically. I randomly walked into the Rothko room and I felt like I got hit, I couldn’t take a deep breath, I was gob smacked- total shock. The room was totally empty except for me, about 6 of his paintings, low light and insanity. I was literally freaking out, and I had no one to share it with so it just built up. This was the first time I think I understood what art is and how big and important it is.


Willow Ruth aka Brooklyn Buzzy painting intricate details of her mural.

Have you ever been to Mexico? Yes, this past February I had the opportunity to take part in a two-week artist residency.

What’s your Hiatus? I do a lot of thinking honestly, I try out different things in my head. I like walking to where I need to go, watching insects and birds do their things. Being outside is always good.

Blanco, Repo or Añejo? (preference) 100% Añejo.

Sitting in-front of the mural, Brooklyn Buzzy, Founder of Hiatus Tequila, Kristopher DeSoto, and Irene Reyes owner of The Springs.

Don’t forget to follow Brooklyn Buzzy on Instagram and check out the article feature in The Brooklyn Paper, or if you’re in the neighborhood check out Buzzy’s mural at The Springs Brooklyn, 224 Franklin Street, Brooklyn, NY.

Buzzing Around Brooklyn With Local Artist Willow Ruth

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