Curious Ruby

By Claire Turner

Meet an Australian artist who explores the globe for a living, seeking out creative inspiration in all nooks and crannies. Currently discovering the tribal cultures of South East Asia, Curious Ruby talks to me about her recent findings…

“I have found the simplest of patterns have been a part of some tribal cultures centuries before they were adopted into this kind of visual art. The patterning is so simple, yet astounding, as it represents not just lines or dots, but is specific to that tribe or group. We Westerners think it just might be a pretty pattern, but to some people it has been a part of their culture for years, and identifies them as  such.” 

Curious Ruby Pic 2

What is your definition of inspiration?

Inspiration is something that stirs up the creativity in such a way it cannot be contained. Inspiration is a feeling, an experience, new  knowledge or just the time to spend expressing innermost thoughts so that they then become public.

You have a very strong aesthetic that communicates a sense of organised chaos; vibrant and striking but also quite delicate in tone. What is it about the tribal cultures you come across that resonates most with your own artistic style? Do you seek out your own interests and appeals or simply soak up all that you experience and let the art  flow after?

To be honest it ends up being a blend of experiences or ideas that come together after a few days or weeks of thinking about something. The kind of chaos I draw takes quite some time, and as I travel often, that time is usually spent in airports, train, bus or boat stations. It’s then that all the ideas and experiences come together. I am a visual person, so it’s usually what I observe that comes together in the end: the pattern on their traditional clothes, the drums they use,  the ornaments they have, or the jewellery they wear. So it is quite often a reflection of what I have seen and experienced, mingled with a style that I have been drawing since I was at least ten (years old)!

Being a full time visual artist is bittersweet. Being a full time raveling artist must be in another league of its own. How do you manage the dynamic of maintaining an inspired mindset and keeping your feet on the ground with getting work done? 

Honestly this is a journey that is just starting for me, so I’m not quite sure how to answer! In regards to being constantly inspired, for me that definitely doesn’t happen. For example, after traveling on various transport for 46 hours the last thing you want to do is sit  down and draw it all. I have learned that sleep is a valuable  friend! It’s when I am alert and have the time and inclination, that is when the magic happens. If time and inspiration comes together at the same time, then I embrace the two. Having said that, these last six months have been a constant flow of creativity for me.

Curious Ruby Pic 5Curious Ruby Pic 3 Curious Ruby Pic 4





What mediums do you use? 

200gsm watercolour paper, Sakura microns and watercolours.  I like the paper as it is thick and feels substantial, and absorbs the colour well. I love microns as they don’t bleed when I use the watercolour.

Do you have any projects that you’re working on?

Yes… but it’s a secret for now… Oooh, someone is being curiously mysterious!

What are your future plans for your creativity?

To develop my style more. At the moment I am experimenting with different styles, just because I like the diversity, but honing in on my style and developing it to a point that I am happy with it completely. One cannot stand still; in order to keep the brain active we have to keep challenging it.

What is most important for all young artists to know? 

To do what you love! If it relaxes you and doesn’t stress you out – bonus!

Find more Curious Ruby artwork on her website:  http://www.curiousruby.com

Instagram: @curious_ruby

Tumblr:  http://curiousruby.tumblr.com

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