Joana Ruckman

Joanna Ruckman is an Oakland-based fine artist, photographer, graphic designer, fashion designer, and dancer.  She holds a B.A. in Visual Arts and Cultural Anthropology from Brown University and runs her own small business, Safiatu Designs.


Her formal training in traditional media is complimented by current studies in digital arts.  Her use of visceral textures and clean compositions, invite and intrigue. She strives to mingle opposing forces and uses only original photographs. 


Some of her strongest influences include Romare Bearden, JR, Rie Munoz, Richard Avedon, and Anahata Katkin.

Artist’s Statement


I have been a designer and photographer for 20 years, but my recent shift to digital art has changed my creative process dramatically. I have been experimenting with manipulating photos in and out of the darkroom since age 14.  Now, with digital art, I am able to combine images in ways I have long desired and even in ways I never imagined.  I am currently working in several different formats, showing in diverse formal and alternative venues, and addressing social issues.


My ongoing series of manipulated portraits of women in Guinea, West Africa, is not only uplifting and visually stimulating, but also is an expression of the search for the art and beauty in everyday moments and expressions.  The images are personal and delicate with an emphasis on how natural elements relate to the figure. This work expresses my hopefulness in the human condition.  As the work evolves, I explore my own relationship to the global community and my connections with people living in vastly different realities.