About Street Anatomy

Street Anatomy is obsessed with the beauty and intrigue of human anatomy. Founded in 2007 by Vanessa Ruiz, Street Anatomy is dedicated to showcasing how anatomy is visualized in art, design, and pop culture through our visual blog, gallery shows, and gallery store.

Anatomical illustration and medical imaging are breaking out of the confines of the medical world. Artists and designers are using anatomy to bring a human and emotional element to their art—as well as a touch of memento mori. Through Street Anatomy, Vanessa promotes artists who find innovative ways to portray anatomy in contemporary art, street art, tattoos, fashion, and beyond.

Street Anatomy is based in Chicago. You can also find us on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

About the Founder


Obsessed with the beauty and intrigue of human anatomy Vanessa Ruiz founded Street Anatomy in 2007 while getting her Master of Science degree in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has taken Street Anatomy from a small blog to a fully branded platform with an international following.

Vanessa is currently Creative Director at Wolters Kluwer Health, creating engaging and empathetic digital experiences that help people understand their health. She leads a rockstar team of writers, animators, medical artists, UX and data visualization designers to create experiences that drive patient engagement and outcomes based on behavioral science principles.  

In 2015, Vanessa was chosen to be a speaker at TEDMED 2015. Her talk was featured on TED.com where it has reached 1.5 million people and counting. She currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board helping to nominate artists to the TEDMED stage.

Vanessa has an extensive background in health & wellness advertising, patient engagement, medical illustration, product design, and art curation. Learn more on LinkedIn.

Articles + Interviews + Talks

Anatomy: Exploring the Human Body by Phaidon Editors with an introduction by Professor Thomas Schnalke. Selected texts written by Vanessa Ruiz for artists Max Brödel, Pauline Lariviere, and Ron Mueck. 2019.  

The Power of Visualization for Healthcare: A Conversation with Vanessa Ruiz
Wolters Kluwer Health – Emmi Solutions Blog. 2018.    

What Healthcare Can Learn from Street Artists
Speaker at MidwestUX Chicago. 2018.

The future of infusing art into anatomy
Ruiz V. TEDMED Blog. 2016.

The Spellbinding Art of Human Anatomy
TEDMED Palm Springs, CA 2015 (video)

Anatomy for Everybody
Chen E. The Scientist. 2014.

Dissecting Art; Intersecting Anatomy
Schalecamp P. 2013. (video)

Bones & Blood Make Blog Pop Art: Medical Illustrator Jared Interviews Vanessa Ruiz
Travnicek J. Fortnight Journal. 2012.

Underneath It All: Medical illustration + pop culture = Web log
Knufken K. USD Magazine. 2008.


Emily Evans – Writing Contributor

Emily Evans

Emily Evans, BSC PGCE MMAA RMIP, is an Anatomist and Medical illustrator. She has been working as a Medical Illustrator for the last 12 years and works from her studio in London UK. Emily is also senior demonstrator of anatomy at Cambridge University, UK, teaching the medical students human dissection and anatomy.

Additionally, Emily is the author and illustrator of ‘Anatomy in Black’, owner and designer at Anatomy Boutique, Anatomist and Artist in Residence at the Morbid Anatomy Museum, New York and a Member of the Medical Artists’ Association of Great Britain, the Institute of Anatomical Sciences and the Anatomical Society. View her medical illustration and art at emilyevansillustration.com

17 thoughts on “About”

  1. Norma González

    Some time ago I downloaded an illustration depicting the Xenopus laevis life cycle. It has a copyright by Vanessa Ruiz (2006).
    I would like to use it in a document about the development of that frog I am writing for my students. It is not for commercial use nor for commercial profit.
    I would like to have your permission. Is it possible?
    Thanks! from Argentina, Norma

  2. How do you choose your next posts? I’ve just made a heart tatto with this Berlin guy (Jukan Unter Strom) that fits perfectly with your site.

  3. i am instantly in love with your site. i did my undergraduate thesis (in Literature-Theatre) on Renaissance anatomy and illustration, and have since been entirely obsessed with the anatomical diagram aesthetic. thank you so much for this blog! i am hereby officially a regular reader.

  4. wow, this site is PERFECT. i love it so much, really up my alley. i think medical illustration is a wonderful confluence of craft, skill, vision, and science…all things that matter to me.

    please keep up the awesomeness. i’m so impressed!

    ps – i’m sure you know about phoebe gloeckner, the ubertalented cartoonist who was also a medical illustrator.

  5. What a wonderful site. I noticed that you are aware of the ethical pitfalls involved in how the bodies are obtained. These ethical issues apply especially to the current fad: exhibits of plasticized bodies. These exhibits appear to be ethically blind, and try very hard to shove the issues under the rug in the name of Science and Education. More information is available on the site I have created at http://dignityinboston.googlepages.com/pittsburgh

    Aaron Ginsburg
    Sharon, MA

  6. “An important difference between the painter… and the illustrator
    is that the former goes through life painting the things that he sees
    before him, the things that appeal to him, while the latter
    is forced to paint something that neither he nor anyone else has seen,
    and make it appear as if he had actually been an observer on the spot.
    The measure of the illustrator is his ability to take a subject in which
    he may have neither interest nor information, tackle it with everything
    he’s got and make the finished picture look like
    the consummation of his life’s one ambition.”

    ~ Dean Cornwell

  7. Amazing site! I too heard about you at the AMI conference and love to see all the medical illustration related topics. Thank you for posting them to the world, we need more exposure! Keep up the good work… Expose away 🙂
    Annie Gough, CMI

  8. Hey Vanessa – Fellow medical illustrator (and blogger) here! If you didn’t know, your blog was mentioned by Nicholas Woodridge in one of the forums last week at the Bozeman AMI meeting. Just thought you’d like to know AND I wanted to reach out and say ‘hi’. There are so few of us about on the internets.


  9. Vanessa,
    This is your friend Shayna and I can’t seem to get a hold of you. I really like your website though, how cool! So, you don’t have to post this, but please do email me.

  10. Cheryl Phillips

    As the others…I’m very happy to have found this website of yours. It is so very, very interesting and knowledgable! There are so many things out in the world to see & discover & the internet has been the best source for reaching the people who are fascinated with this art & the human body. I will enjoy it for many years to come..Thank-you!! Cheryl

  11. Hi Vanessa

    I didnt know how else to contact you so I thought I’d just add a comment here.
    My name is Joel Dubin and I’m a senior 3d animator at a life sciience animation studio outside of Philadelphia, PA called 3fx (www.3fx.com)

    Business is ramping up, and we are looking to hire 3d animators–so thought I would put the word out here. If you find this post innapropriate for some reason–then feel free to delete, but please pass the word if you are able.

    This site is GREAT! I’ve been following it for several months now–and its been a great resource and source of inspiration. Thanks for doing it.


  12. Hi there Vanessa.

    I happened upon your inspiring site via a reference to Erich Lepier in an obsure text; “Pictures of the Body, pain & metamorphosis”…

    Your rich & insightful content is a welcome boost in my MA studies, thanks for sharing the passion!

    Rich Carthew.

  13. Thank you for this magnificent and beautiful website. I am a healthcare interpreter trainer and will definitely turn my students on to your site. BTW, I tried to subscribe to your site through the My Yahoo link and was unable to do it. Any suggestions?
    Best regards,
    Maria Elena Gaitan

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